Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The common domestic fowl (Gallus domesticus) or its young.
  • n. Any of various similar or related birds.
  • n. The flesh of the common domestic fowl.
  • n. Slang A coward.
  • n. Any of various foolhardy competitions in which the participants persist in a dangerous course of action until one loses nerve and stops.
  • n. Vulgar Slang A young gay male, especially as sought by an older man.
  • adj. Slang Afraid; cowardly.
  • intransitive v. Slang To act in a cowardly manner; lose one's nerve: chickened out at the last moment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A domestic fowl, Gallus gallus, especially when young
  • n. The meat from this bird eaten as food.
  • n. A coward.
  • n. A young, attractive, slim man, usually having little body hair. Cf. chickenhawk
  • n. A young or inexperienced person.
  • n. A confrontational game in which the participants move toward each other at high speed (usually in automobiles); the player who turns first to avoid colliding into the other is the loser.
  • n. The game of dare.
  • adj. cowardly
  • v. To avoid as a result of fear.
  • v. To develop physical or other characteristics resembling a chicken's, for example, bumps on the skin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A young bird or fowl, esp. a young barnyard fowl.
  • n. A young person; a child; esp. a young woman; a maiden; same as spring chicken.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The young of the domestic hen: in this sense now less exact than chick.
  • n. A domestic or barn-yàrd fowl, especially one less than a year old.
  • n. The young of some birds other than the domestic hen.
  • n. A common name of the pinnated grouse or prairie-hen (prairie-chicken), Cupidonia cupido (see cut under Cupidonia), and of the sharp-tailed grouse, Pediæcetes phasianellus.
  • n. A person of tender years; a child: sometimes used as a term of endearment, or with a negative (no chicken), in satirical implication of mature years.
  • n. A name applied with a qualifying adjective to various fishes, as in the north of Ireland to the Atherina presbyter, called the Portaferry chicken.
  • n. A kind of turtle whose shell is used in commerce.
  • n. Embroidery, especially embroidery upon muslin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a person who lacks confidence, is irresolute and wishy-washy
  • n. a domestic fowl bred for flesh or eggs; believed to have been developed from the red jungle fowl
  • adj. easily frightened
  • n. a foolhardy competition; a dangerous activity that is continued until one competitor becomes afraid and stops
  • n. the flesh of a chicken used for food

Etymologies

Middle English chiken, from Old English cīcen.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English ċicen, cycen ("chicken"), diminutive of coc, cocc ("cock, rooster"), or from Proto-Germanic *kiukīnan. Cognate with Dutch kuiken ("chick, chicken"), Low German küken ("chicken"), German Küken ("chick"), German dialectal Küchlein ("chicken") and Old Norse kjúklingr ("chicken"). More at cock, -en. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Our ownership of more than one inspirational book that began with the phrase "chicken soup," yet contained no recipes.

    Joel Dovev: The Moment I Knew

  • We both ordered a dish that had the word chicken in it.

    Humor for a Sister’s Heart

  • Till they are four months old, the term chicken is applied to the young female; after that age they are called pullets, till they begin to lay, when they are called hens.

    The Book of Household Management

  • For example, if the term "chicken" is used, this means chicken flesh or skin, but excluding feathers, heads, feet and entrails.

    The Seattle Times

  • A drawing in the stairwell was made of a chicken dribbling a basketball with the word "dead" and then epithets surrounding the word "chicken."

    Hate Crimes Probed in Murphy Case

  • Don't you people know that the best part of a chicken is the bones?

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • They wrap that thing in a fresh pita (all the non-fresh ones having been tossed), and smear it with tahini and a tangy garlic sauce that reeks of the Holy Clove, and the chicken is actual globs of white chicken meat and not that processed stuff, and oh it is heaven.

    When To Eat Out, And Why

  • So, this is we're at the real far end of what I called chicken money, ultimate safety when you're in either money market deposit account or a money market mutual fund.

    CNN Transcript Jul 16, 2008

  • And if we are going to have inflation, rates will rise, you'll be glad you stayed short-term, what I call chicken money, so that you can take advantage of rising rates in the years ahead if we have inflation, if it gets out of hand.

    CNN Transcript Jun 27, 2008

  • HAMMER: But I understand there ` s a whole new meaning to this term chicken cutlets, maybe you can enlighten me, if we want to be enlightened.

    CNN Transcript Jun 20, 2006

Comments

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  • Embroidery, especially embroidery upon muslin.

    January 25, 2013

  • Hah!

    February 6, 2010

  • Diogenes the Git, he should've been called.

    February 6, 2010

  • To criticize Plato's definition of man as zōon dipoun apteron (two-legged animal without feathers (or the latinized animal bipes implume)), Diogenes the Cynic brought a plucked chicken to the Academy. In response, Plato added "having broad nails" to his definition. See Wikipedia's list of Greek phrases.

    February 6, 2010

  • chicken

    December 28, 2008

  • George Carlin said they're decent people.

    December 28, 2008

  • There are more chickens than people in the world!

    October 5, 2007

  • Daffynition: an animal that people eat only before it's born or after it's dead.

    January 6, 2007