Definition of chicken in English:


Syllabification: chick·en
Pronunciation: /ˈCHikən


1A domestic fowl kept for its eggs or meat, especially a young one.
More example sentences
  • Most of us think we're familiar with the sounds of the domestic chicken, but not all fowl calls are created equal.
  • As birds go, the domestic chicken is hardly built for high-performance flight.
  • This brief summary demonstrates the level of understanding that has been gained in studying the scutate scales of the chicken.
1.1Meat from a chicken: roast chicken
More example sentences
  • The meats consisted of soft shelled crab covered in spices, tender roast beef and chicken.
  • The main types of meat are pork, chicken, and mutton.
  • This tells us that she won't eat red meat, chicken, pork, fish or seafood.
2 informal A game in which the first person to lose nerve and withdraw from a dangerous situation is the loser.
More example sentences
  • Bondholders are playing a dangerous game of chicken because they feel they have little to lose.
  • I think it's sort of a game of chicken until then.
  • It's like we're playing a game of chicken in reverse.
2.1A coward.
More example sentences
  • You're right - I am a chicken, scared of everything and anything.
  • Candy was right, Jane was being a coward and chicken.
3 informal (Among homosexuals) an adolescent male.


[predicative] informal Back to top  
Cowardly: they were too chicken to follow the murderers into the mountains


[no object] (chicken out) informal Back to top  
Withdraw from or fail in something through lack of nerve: the referee chickened out of giving a penalty
More example sentences
  • But every time I almost get up the nerve to go and speak to her, I chicken out.
  • Maybe you'll intend to come clean but chicken out.
  • She said, ‘We need to raise a better generation that won't chicken out.’


Old English cīcen, cȳcen, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kieken and German Küchlein, and probably also to cock1.


don't count your chickens before they're hatched

see count1.

Definition of chicken in:

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Pronunciation: ˈbɪmb(ə)l
walk or travel at a leisurely pace