Definition of chicken in English:
- 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.
- 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.
adjective[predicative] informal Back to top
verb[no object] (chicken out) informal Back to top
- 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.’
- don't count your chickens before they're hatched
- see count1.
A word that probably has the same ancient root as cock. Don't count your chickens before they're hatched is recorded from the 16th century, and refers to one of Aesop's fables of 2,000 years earlier, in which a girl carrying a pail of milk to market dreams about buying chickens with the profit from the milk and becoming rich through selling eggs. In her daydream she sees herself as being so wealthy that she would simply toss her head at all her would-be lovers, at which point she tosses her head and spills the milk. Chickens coming home to roost is a form of the proverb, dating from the 14th century, curses, like chickens, come home to roost.
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