chicken

[ chik-uh n ]
/ ˈtʃɪk ən /

noun

adjective

(of food) containing, made from, or having the flavor of chicken: chicken salad; chicken soup.
Slang.
  1. cowardly.
  2. petty or trivial: a chicken regulation.
  3. obsessed with petty details, regulations, etc.: He's quitting this chicken outfit to become his own boss.

Verb Phrases

chicken out, Slang.
  1. to refrain from doing something because of fear or cowardice: I chickened out when I saw how deep the water was.
  2. to renege or withdraw: You can't chicken out of this business deal now.

Idioms

    count 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.

Origin of chicken

before 950; 1605–15 for def 4a; 1940–45 for def 6; Middle English chiken, Old English cīcen; akin to Middle Dutch kieken (Dutch kuiken), Low German küken
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chicken

British Dictionary definitions for chicken

chicken

/ (ˈtʃɪkɪn) /

noun


adjective

slang easily scared; cowardly; timid

Word Origin for chicken

Old English ciecen; related to Old Norse kjūklingr gosling, Middle Low German küken chicken
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

Idioms and Phrases with chicken

chicken

In addition to the idioms beginning with chicken

  • chicken feed
  • chicken out
  • chickens come home to roost
  • chicken shit
  • chicken with its head cut off

also see:

  • count one's chickens
  • go to bed with (the chickens)
  • like a chicken with its head cut off
  • no spring chicken

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.