\ ˈfau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce fowl (audio) \
plural fowl or fowls

Definition of fowl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bird of any kind — compare waterfowl, wildfowl
2a : a cock or hen of the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) especially : an adult hen
b : any of several domesticated (see domesticate entry 1 sense 2) or wild gallinaceous birds — compare guinea fowl, jungle fowl
3 : the meat of fowls used as food roasted fowl


fowled; fowling; fowls

Definition of fowl (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to seek, catch, or kill wildfowl

Examples of fowl in a Sentence

Noun I spotted a long-legged fowl by the water's edge.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Virginia fowl, chestnut stuffing, baked yams, and cauliflower with cheese – that Lincoln ate before he was shot at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Peter Krouse, cleveland, "Scholar to explain why Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as replacement running mate," 6 Feb. 2020 No one knew whether the chicken trotted home on the country roads of Bedford and had some kind of internal fowl clock that knew when to come back. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "This is Larry Bird's lawyer and he is an absolute character," 1 Feb. 2020 Thursdays will be game night — meaning wild game, fish or fowl specials, with board and card games. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Buckatabon Tavern & Supper Club is projected to open in mid-March in Wauwatosa," 30 Jan. 2020 Main course: Chicken or beef The cookbook has chicken recipes galore, but two non-fowl options from Margaret McCoy stand out. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In 1984, the wives of Green Bay Packers players made a cookbook for charity. It's gold.," 28 Nov. 2019 Those brown patches are now covered by water with pond grasses that provide cover to whistling ducks, great blue herons and other water fowl. Stephen Hudak,, "Gotha lake threatens homes, Orange County does nothing, residents say," 30 Sep. 2019 There are large species of shorebirds and other water fowl. Bill Van Niekerken,, "Remembering Emeryville’s mudflat art — and why the mud won out," 28 Aug. 2019 There were definitely deer, likely lobsters and fish, and some sort of wild fowl—maybe geese, ducks, turkey, or all of the above. Brian Skerry, National Geographic, "How did we save wild turkeys?," 28 Nov. 2019 In the first, the problem was affection: Officials implored chicken owners to stop kissing, snuggling and sharing their homes with their fowl after a whopping 13% of people who contracted salmonella 'fessed up to smooching their birds. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Humans can get tuberculosis from deer, the CDC says," 29 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This reflects both the impending asteroid impact and the similarity of Asteriornis to fowl birds. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Oldest bird fossil discovered, nicknamed 'wonderchicken'," 19 Mar. 2020 The typical hunter, whether the prey be fowl or four-legged, has traded in gear for a fishing pole. Matt Wyatt,, "Spring turkey outlook: Prime conditions mean thriving jakes," 12 Mar. 2020 Games include fowling — a game that combines football and bowling — as well as table tennis, foosball, air hockey and more. Robert Philpot,, "Hanging out at 12 new patios in and around Fort Worth," 17 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fowl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fowl


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fowl

Noun and Verb

Middle English foul, from Old English fugel; akin to Old High German fogal bird, and probably to Old English flēogan to fly — more at fly

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Time Traveler for fowl

Time Traveler

The first known use of fowl was before the 12th century

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Statistics for fowl

Last Updated

16 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fowl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for fowl


How to pronounce fowl (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fowl

: a bird (such as a chicken) that is raised for food
: the meat of such a bird used as food
old-fashioned + humorous : a bird of any kind


\ ˈfau̇l How to pronounce fowl (audio) \
plural fowl or fowls

Kids Definition of fowl

1 : bird wild fowls
2 : a common domestic rooster or hen
3 : the meat of a domestic fowl used as food

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More from Merriam-Webster on fowl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fowl

Spanish Central: Translation of fowl

Nglish: Translation of fowl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fowl for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about fowl

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