\ 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 The clearing of underbrush allows more room for secretive marsh fowl like moorhens to maneuver around, taking cover from predators and nesting. Matt Wyatt,, "The end of a year of fire at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge," 7 Jan. 2021 The North American Vegetarian Society asks people to help reduce greenhouse gases by pledging to eat no meat, fish or fowl (basically chicken or turkey) in October. Washington Post, "Celebrate these unusual holidays to make 2021 even more fun," 4 Jan. 2021 Most Albany residents seem to share a favorable opinion of the fowl, including Mayor Nick Pilch, interviewed on a corner shortly after 13 turkeys strolled by. Michael Cabanatuan,, "Packs of wild turkeys are turning heads and blocking traffic in this East Bay city," 29 Dec. 2020 In fact, in October of 2020, the Dave Donaldson Black River WMA near Pocahontas, Arkansas, received $1 million in funds to make the area even more attractive to migrating fowl. Jace Bauserman, Field & Stream, "5 Great Late-Season Hunting Trips," 21 Dec. 2020 Apologies for an unintentional deed most fowl to Cora Schmitt and Natalie Carlson, whose creativity landed them among the top of the 2020 entries selected from thousands of submissions. Star Tribune, "Turkeys plus two," 18 Dec. 2020 The day before Thanksgiving offered a contrast between President-elect Joe Biden and Trump, who has yet to concede the election, and claims there was fowl play. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "Live political updates: President Trump expected to spend Thanksgiving at the White House," 26 Nov. 2020 That includes what many consider the foulest fowl on the earth, the black vulture. René A. Guzman,, "S.A.’s Common Critters: Turkey vultures, black vultures more than just Mother Nature’s cleanup crew," 22 Sep. 2020 Aldermen essentially held firm on their Aug. 4 decision to keep restrictions on chickens and other domestic fowl out of the new ordinance, thereby maintaining the free-ranging status quo local residents have enjoyed. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mukwonago residents might finally be allowed to keep backyard chickens -- if village officials approve," 25 Aug. 2020 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

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fowl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of fowl for Spanish Speakers

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

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