Definition of chicken in US English:

chicken

noun

  • 1A domestic fowl kept for its eggs or meat, especially a young one.

    • ‘This brief summary demonstrates the level of understanding that has been gained in studying the scutate scales of the chicken.’
    • ‘We walked very quietly around the yard to try and find the chickens and roosters who were hiding in one of the stables.’
    • ‘I understand, and have seen at first hand on several occasions what a fox can do to a flock of chickens, or other domestic fowl.’
    • ‘Just as it sounds, a fertile egg has been fertilized by a male chicken and could potentially become a chick.’
    • ‘The disappearance of chickens in many farmyards and back gardens must have reduced the availability of food.’
    • ‘Each of the three compartments contained either a chicken, a rooster or an egg.’
    • ‘Everyone has seen at least a few gallinaceous birds, since domesticated chicken and turkeys are in this category.’
    • ‘However, the animals sacrificed in these rites have been chickens and hens.’
    • ‘For example, chickens and turkeys can escape most of the harms just described.’
    • ‘As birds go, the domestic chicken is hardly built for high-performance flight.’
    • ‘She lived on the top floor while all her hens and chickens clucked happily on the ground level.’
    • ‘As per traditional Indian thinking, seeing a brood of chickens along with a hen is a bad omen.’
    • ‘Domesticated animals such as chickens and pigs were raised in the same area.’
    • ‘The male chickens have dark yellow feet whereas the female chickens have light yellow feet.’
    • ‘The Portuguese introduced the domestic pig, chickens, olives, and salt cod as well as coffee and tea.’
    • ‘When it comes to making a sacrificial gift to the gods, they prefer to slaughter a male chicken.’
    • ‘Most of us think we're familiar with the sounds of the domestic chicken, but not all fowl calls are created equal.’
    • ‘This mighty bird, the chicken of chickens, is brilliantly colored with feathers of red, green, brown, black, and gold.’
    • ‘He tried his medicine on young chickens which were given the concoction twice a week.’
    • ‘Three younger girls chase a chicken around in circles.’
    1. 1.1 Meat from a chicken.
      ‘roast chicken’
      • ‘The sauce also goes well with leftover roast, chicken, turkey or ham.’
      • ‘We had a delicious meal of steak, roast chicken, mashed potatoes and salad.’
      • ‘The main types of meat are pork, chicken, and mutton.’
      • ‘My husband and I don't eat red meat or chicken; my parents, who do, call us ‘vegetarians.’’
      • ‘The sauce is good served with roast chicken, steak or grilled fish.’
      • ‘Roast beef, chicken, seafood, steak, and savory stews were among the typical fare.’
      • ‘Corn, rice, and peas are eaten with meats such as chicken, fish, pork, and beef.’
      • ‘The main course was a pristine roast chicken with herbs and bacon and mashed potatoes along with mixed vegetables.’
      • ‘The preferred meat is mutton, but chicken, beef, and camel also are consumed.’
      • ‘Smoke rose from the center, where open fires roasted chicken and other meats.’
      • ‘Believe me, the beef, pork, chicken and other meats are very expensive.’
      • ‘The decline was more pronounced among women who ate a high percentage of non-dairy animal protein, such as red meat, chicken, turkey and pork.’
      • ‘This includes all previously allowed items plus red meat, chicken, and well-cooked vegetables.’
      • ‘The meats consisted of soft shelled crab covered in spices, tender roast beef and chicken.’
      • ‘Concentrate on eating vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and choose chicken rather than red meat.’
      • ‘This tells us that she won't eat red meat, chicken, pork, fish or seafood.’
      • ‘These people tended to avoid red meat but ate chicken and fish.’
      • ‘Some braised beef or roast chicken, for example, would be a welcome addition.’
      • ‘They were also asked to decrease intake of red meat, substituting chicken, fish, and skim milk as protein sources.’
      • ‘When I am given a choice of meats, I choose white meat such as chicken or fish over steak.’
  • 2informal A game in which the first person to lose nerve and withdraw from a dangerous situation is the loser.

    • ‘Since then, the two men have been engaged in a game of chicken.’
    • ‘This is prime land, housing here would fetch huge prices and so, for a quarter of a century, a sort of big business game of chicken has developed.’
    • ‘I talked to Seth today about it and he just laughed and told me they were playing a game of chicken and truth or dare.’
    • ‘This is not a some kind of macho game of chicken to show we have our resolve.’
    • ‘Bondholders are playing a dangerous game of chicken because they feel they have little to lose.’
    • ‘It's a game of political chicken within the Republican party.’
    • ‘It's like a game of chicken - car racing toward car, head-on - who would back down?’
    • ‘Buses and trucks play a game of chicken, oblivious to the concept of traffic lanes.’
    • ‘The scheduled sessions had gone badly, both men playing a game of chicken as they moved from one contentious issue to another.’
    • ‘What we have here is an intriguing game of chicken.’
    • ‘It's like we're playing a game of chicken in reverse.’
    • ‘As I write this, the game of chicken is in maximum overdrive.’
    • ‘It looked like a game of chicken as both shifted to tackle positions.’
    • ‘If that is not enough then maybe the driver will engage you with a pleasant game of chicken.’
    • ‘The best of these is at a lumber yard, where groups of fighters need to balance on the logs in a death defying game of chicken.’
    • ‘Who will survive the ultimate game of slow motion chicken?’
    • ‘In the game, it becomes more like a game of chicken, with the enemy ship trying to charge and ram you almost from the first moment you come across one another.’
    • ‘It was just like the game of chicken - someone would have to back out first.’
    • ‘I think it's sort of a game of chicken until then.’
    1. 2.1 A coward.
      • ‘Candy was right, Jane was being a coward and chicken.’
      • ‘You're right - I am a chicken, scared of everything and anything.’
  • 3informal (among homosexuals) an adolescent male.

adjective

informal
  • predicative Cowardly.

    ‘they were too chicken to follow the murderers into the mountains’
    easily frightened, lacking courage, fearful, apprehensive, afraid, frightened, scared, faint-hearted
    View synonyms

verb

[no object]chicken out
informal
  • Withdraw from or fail in something through lack of nerve.

    ‘the referee chickened out of giving a penalty’
    • ‘If the corporate talking heads don't chicken out, this could be fun.’
    • ‘Maybe you'll intend to come clean but chicken out.’
    • ‘They're the ones who may change their minds or chicken out.’
    • ‘Make sure you don't chicken out on the rollercoaster though, as it's an experience-and-a-half.’
    • ‘‘We'll keep her just in case you decide to chicken out on us,’ Regis said.’
    • ‘So it will not surprise you if I chicken out of making predictions.’
    • ‘But every time I almost get up the nerve to go and speak to her, I chicken out.’
    • ‘The advantage is that you can spend as much time as you like modifying the configuration and activate it in just a couple of keystrokes - or not, if you chicken out.’
    • ‘I'd never seen anything quite like that, and half of me is afraid of what he will do, and half of me is afraid he will chicken out at the last second.’
    • ‘I thought you would chicken out, I didn't really mean for you to do it.’
    • ‘Obviously this will be open to horrendous abuse, so I might chicken out at the last moment.’
    • ‘The person who told me this says that there's still time for someone to chicken out and cancel or postpone.’
    • ‘I just had to push you into the crowd first because I knew you would chicken out and not jump.’
    • ‘‘You'd better not chicken out at the last minute again,’ she warned him.’
    • ‘The course doesn't start until May, so there's still time to chicken out, if need be.’
    • ‘I'm going to chicken out on this one, and keep all my punchlines to myself.’
    • ‘I don't want to chicken out, but finally I say ‘Man, this is hard work.’’
    • ‘Don't tell me you all came this far just to chicken out?’
    • ‘Every time I try to talk to her, I just chicken out.’
    • ‘She said, ‘We need to raise a better generation that won't chicken out.’’

Origin

Old English cīcen, cȳcen, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kieken and German Küchlein, and probably also to cock.

Pronunciation

chicken

/ˈtʃɪkən//ˈCHikən/