Definition of chicken hawk in US English:

chicken hawk

(also chickenhawk)


  • 1A hawk of a type that is reputed to prey on domestic fowl.

    • ‘A solitary chicken hawk circled so slowly on a high updraft of air that he looked to be hanging motionless, a small brown kite.’
    • ‘A chicken-hawk flew down onto one of the burnt tree stumps.’
    • ‘Overhead, a tiny but persistent washi bird attacked a much bigger chicken hawk on the wing to try and get feathers for its nest.’
    • ‘There was no one to overhear them save a speckled chicken hawk circling lazily on the updraft from the mountain.’
    • ‘Red-tailed hawks are returning. They are also called chicken hawks although they normally eat more rodents, woodchucks, and rabbits than chickens.’
    1. 1.1informal An older man who seeks younger men or boys as sexual partners.
  • 2informal A person who speaks out in support of war yet has avoided active military service.

    • ‘Voter chose the chickenhawk over the war hero.’
    • ‘But having to go to the UN at all was a defeat for the largely civilian 'chicken hawks' who make up the war party in Washington.’
    • ‘Lately, the chicken hawks have been dissing the generals as sissies.’
    • ‘The chickenhawks, the cabal of right-wingers who never saw the far side of a military training ground, are the men now banging the drums for war in the White House.’
    • ‘In a whole series of pieces, Newfield went after what he crudely called the chicken hawks, the right-wing drum-bangers who had either dodged the war or invented a record in it.’
    • ‘Every so often, anyone who supported the war has to contend with the cries of "Chickenhawk!"’
    • ‘What amazes me is how the current chicken hawks have conned America about how patriotic they are.’
    • ‘I really enjoy listening to these chickenhawks bloviating about the anti-war movement.’
    • ‘In other words, it appears that he was something of a rightwinger, but hypocritical about his own status with the draft - a prototype of what we would now call a chickenhawk.’
    • ‘Like every other member of the group, we evaded the war in Vietnam. Some people see an ethical problem in this; they refer to us as chicken hawks.’