- 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.
- to hunt or take wildfowl.
Origin of fowl
- (intr) to hunt or snare wildfowl
Word Origin for fowl
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.
see neither fish nor fowl.