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[fou-ling] /ˈfaʊ lɪŋ/
the practice or sport of shooting or snaring birds.
Origin of fowling
late Middle English
First recorded in 1350-1400, fowling is from the late Middle English word foulynge. See fowl, -ing1


[foul] /faʊl/
noun, plural fowls (especially collectively) fowl.
the domestic or barnyard hen or rooster; chicken.
Compare domestic fowl.
any of several other, usually gallinaceous, birds that are barnyard, domesticated, or wild, as the duck, turkey, or pheasant.
(in market and household use) a full-grown domestic fowl for food purposes, as distinguished from a chicken or young fowl.
the flesh or meat of a domestic fowl.
any bird (used chiefly in combination):
waterfowl; wildfowl.
verb (used without object)
to hunt or take wildfowl.
before 900; Middle English foul, Old English fugol, fugel; cognate with Old Saxon fugal, Gothic fugls, Old High German fogal (German Vogel)
Can be confused
foul, fowl. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fowling
Historical Examples
  • But still more interesting was the fowling among the marshes.

  • What a splendid chance for a shot, if I only had my fowling piece.

    Her Mother's Secret Emma D. E. N. Southworth
  • He did it every day of his life, when fishing and fowling, with his uncle, in the carr.

    The Settlers at Home Harriet Martineau
  • And here I must make an end of the most material part of fowling.

  • A zest and flavour is added to all these by hunting and fowling in spare hours.

    Treatises on Friendship and Old Age Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • "Cyd do dat, for sartin," replied he, examining the lock of the fowling piece.

    Watch and Wait Oliver Optic
  • Dan was provided with a fowling piece, while Quin was to try his luck as a fisherman.

    Watch and Wait Oliver Optic
  • "We'll see about that," added the man, as he raised his fowling piece.

    Watch and Wait Oliver Optic
  • He staggered to the wagon and got out his fowling piece, and said he was going to try me.

    Beautiful Joe Marshall Saunders
  • We'll carry the fowling piece: there'll be ducks on the water.

    Duffels Edward Eggleston
British Dictionary definitions for fowling


the shooting or trapping of birds for sport or as a livelihood
Derived Forms
fowler, noun


any other bird, esp any gallinaceous bird, that is used as food or hunted as game See also waterfowl, wildfowl
the flesh or meat of fowl, esp of chicken
an archaic word for any bird
(intransitive) to hunt or snare wildfowl
Word Origin
Old English fugol; related to Old Frisian fugel, Old Norse fogl, Gothic fugls, Old High German fogal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fowling



Old English fugel "bird," representing the general Germanic word for them, from Proto-Germanic *foglaz (cf. Old Frisian fugel, Old Norse fugl, Middle Dutch voghel, Dutch vogel, German vogel, Gothic fugls), probably by dissimilation from *flug-la-, literally "flyer," from the same root as Old English fleogan, modern fly (v.1).

Originally "bird;" narrower sense of "domestic hen or rooster" (the main modern meaning) is first recorded 1570s; in U.S. also extended to ducks and geese. As a verb, Old English fuglian "to catch birds." Related: Fowled; fowling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with fowling
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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