Animal Husbandrya 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.
Animal Husbandrythe young of this bird, esp. when less than a year old.
Foodthe flesh of the chicken, esp. of the young bird, used as food.
Informal Termsa young or inexperienced person, esp. a young girl.
a cowardly or fearful person.
petty details or tasks.
unnecessary discipline or regulations.
a young male homosexual, esp. one sought as a sexual partner by older men.
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.
a policy or strategy of challenging an opponent to risk a clash or yield:diplomats playing chicken at the conference table.
Idiomscount 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.
Food(of food) containing, made from, or having the flavor of chicken:chicken salad; chicken soup.
petty or trivial:a chicken regulation.
obsessed with petty details, regulations, etc.:He's quitting this chicken outfit to become his own boss.
to refrain from doing something because of fear or cowardice:I chickened out when I saw how deep the water was.
to renege or withdraw:You can't chicken out of this business deal now.
bef. 950; 1605–15 for def. 5a; 1940–45 for def. 7; Middle English chiken, Old English cīcen; akin to Middle Dutch kieken (Dutch kuiken), Low German küken