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Origin of fowling

First recorded in 1350–1400, fowling is from the late Middle English word foulynge. See fowl, -ing1


noun, plural fowls, (especially collectively) fowl.
  1. the domestic or barnyard hen or rooster; chicken.Compare domestic fowl.
  2. any of several other, usually gallinaceous, birds that are barnyard, domesticated, or wild, as the duck, turkey, or pheasant.
  3. (in market and household use) a full-grown domestic fowl for food purposes, as distinguished from a chicken or young fowl.
  4. the flesh or meat of a domestic fowl.
  5. any bird (used chiefly in combination): waterfowl; wildfowl.
verb (used without object)
  1. to hunt or take wildfowl.

Origin of fowl

before 900; Middle English foul, Old English fugol, fugel; cognate with Old Saxon fugal, Gothic fugls, Old High German fogal (German Vogel)
Can be confusedfoul fowl Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fowling

Historical Examples of fowling

British Dictionary definitions for fowling


  1. the shooting or trapping of birds for sport or as a livelihood
Derived Formsfowler, noun


  1. See domestic fowl
  2. any other bird, esp any gallinaceous bird, that is used as food or hunted as gameSee also waterfowl, wildfowl
  3. the flesh or meat of fowl, esp of chicken
  4. an archaic word for any bird
  1. (intr) to hunt or snare wildfowl

Word Origin for fowl

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

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

Idioms and Phrases with fowling


see neither fish nor fowl.

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