Chicken



[chik-uh n] /ˈtʃɪk ən/

noun
1.
a domestic fowl, Gallus domesticus, descended from various jungle fowl of southeastern Asia and developed in a number of breeds for its flesh, eggs, and feathers.
2.
the young of this bird, especially when less than a year old.
3.
the flesh of the chicken, especially of the young bird, used as food.
4.
Slang.

5.
a contest in which two cars approach each other at high speed down the center of a road, the object being to force one’s opponent to veer away first.
6.
a policy or strategy of challenging an opponent to risk a clash or yield:
diplomats playing chicken at the conference table.
adjective
7.
(of food) containing, made from, or having the flavor of chicken:
chicken salad; chicken soup.
8.
Slang.

Verb phrases
9.
chicken out, Slang.

Idioms
10.
count one’s chickens before they are hatched, to rely on a benefit that is still uncertain:
They were already spending in anticipation of their inheritance, counting their chickens before they were hatched.
/ˈtʃɪkɪn/
noun
1.
a domestic fowl bred for its flesh or eggs, esp a young one
2.
the flesh of such a bird used for food
3.
any of various similar birds, such as a prairie chicken
4.
(slang) a cowardly person
5.
(slang) a young inexperienced person
6.
(slang) an underage boy or girl regarded as a potential target for sexual abuse
7.
(informal) any of various, often dangerous, games or challenges in which the object is to make one’s opponent lose his nerve
8.
count one’s chickens before they are hatched, to be overoptimistic in acting on expectations which are not yet fulfilled
9.
(Brit, informal) like a headless chicken, disorganized and uncontrolled
10.
(slang) no chicken, no spring chicken, no longer young: she’s no chicken
adjective
11.
(slang) easily scared; cowardly; timid
n.

Old English cicen “young fowl,” which in Middle English came to mean “young chicken,” then any chicken, from West Germanic *kiukinam (cf. Middle Dutch kiekijen, Dutch kieken, Old Norse kjuklingr, Swedish kyckling, German Küken “chicken”), from root *keuk- (echoic of the bird’s sound and possibly also the root of cock (n.1)) + diminutive suffixes.

Adjective sense of “cowardly” is at least as old as 14c. (cf. hen-herte “a chicken-hearted person,” mid-15c.). As the name of a game of danger to test courage, it is first recorded 1953. Chicken feed “paltry sum of money” is by 1897, American English slang; literal use (it is made from the from lowest quality of grain) by 1834. Chicken lobster “young lobster,” is from c.1960s, American English, apparently from chicken in its sense of “young.”
v.

“to back down or fail through cowardice,” 1943, U.S. slang, from chicken (n.), almost always with out (adv.).

adjective

modifier

: had I written extensively about the mechanics of chicken sex

noun

Related Terms

rubber-chicken

[homosexual senses perhaps fr late 19th-century sailor term for a boy who takes a sailor’s fancy and whom he calls his chicken]

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