Several brown chickens in a field.
- A bird that lives in a barn and lays eggs is an example of a chicken.
- A person who is afraid to dive in the pool even after every single one of his friends did is an example of someone who might be called a chicken.
- a common gallinaceous farm bird (Gallus domesticus) raised for its edible eggs or flesh; hen or rooster, esp. a young one: classed in a family (Phasianidae) that includes pheasants, quail, and peafowl
- the flesh of this bird
- any young bird; chick
- a young or inexperienced person
Origin of chickenused of a person regarded as being timid as a chicken: revival of an old usage first recorded in Cymbeline, V, iii, 42 (1611) by Shakespeare a timid or cowardly person
- a young male homosexual
Origin of chicken< chickenshitMil. Slang petty insistence on rules
Origin of chickenMiddle English chicken ; from Old English cycen ; from West Germanic an unverified form kiukina ; from an unverified form kiuk-; like cock, of echoic origin, originally ; akin to Middle Low German kûken (Du kuiken, kieken)
- made of chicken: chicken croquettes
- small and tender: a chicken lobster
- Slang timid or cowardly
Origin of chickencf. chickenMil. Slang characterized by unnecessary discipline or pettiness
count one's chickens before they are hatched
- to engage in a test of courage in which, typically, two vehicles are driven directly toward one another in order to see which driver will swerve away first
- Slang to engage in mutual challenges or threats, hoping the opponent will withdraw before actual conflict or collision
- a. A common domesticated fowl (Gallus domesticus) widely raised for meat and eggs and believed to be descended from the jungle fowl G. gallus.b. Any of various similar or related birds.c. The flesh of the chicken, used as food.
- Slang A coward.
- Any of various foolhardy competitions in which the participants persist in a dangerous course of action until one loses nerve and stops.
- Vulgar Slang A young gay male, especially as sought by an older man.
intransitive verbchick·ened, chick·en·ing, chick·ens Slang
Origin of chickenMiddle English chiken, from Old English c&imacron;cen.
(countable and uncountable, plural chickens)
- (countable) A domestic fowl, Gallus gallus, especially when young
- (uncountable) The meat from this bird eaten as food.
- (countable, slang) A coward.
- (countable, gay slang) A young, attractive, slim man, usually having little body hair. Cf. chickenhawk
- (countable, slang) A young or inexperienced person.
- 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.
- Don't play chicken with a freight train; you're guaranteed to lose.
- The game of dare.
(comparative more chicken, superlative most chicken)
(third-person singular simple present chickens, present participle chickening, simple past and past participle chickened)
- (intransitive) To avoid as a result of fear.
- (intransitive) To develop physical or other characteristics resembling a chicken's, for example, bumps on the skin.
From Middle English, from Old English ċicen, cycen (“chicken”), diminutive of coc, cocc (“cock, rooster”), or from Proto-Germanic *kiukīną. 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.