chicken


chicken
/chik"euhn/, n.
1. a 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.
2. the young of this bird, esp. when less than a year old.
3. the flesh of the chicken, esp. of the young bird, used as food.
4. Informal. a young or inexperienced person, esp. a young girl.
5. Slang.
a. a cowardly or fearful person.
b. petty details or tasks.
c. unnecessary discipline or regulations.
d. a young male homosexual, esp. one sought as a sexual partner by older men.
6. 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.
7. a policy or strategy of challenging an opponent to risk a clash or yield: diplomats playing chicken at the conference table.
8. 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.
adj.
9. (of food) containing, made from, or having the flavor of chicken: chicken salad; chicken soup.
10. Slang.
a. cowardly.
b. petty or trivial: a chicken regulation.
c. obsessed with petty details, regulations, etc.: He's quitting this chicken outfit to become his own boss.
v.i.
11. chicken out, Slang.
a. to refrain from doing something because of fear or cowardice: I chickened out when I saw how deep the water was.
b. 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; ME chiken, OE cicen; akin to MD kieken (D kuiken), LG küken]

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One of the most widely domesticated poultry species (Gallus gallus), raised worldwide for its meat and eggs.

Descended from the wild red jungle fowl of India, chickens have been domesticated for at least 4,000 years. Not until the 19th century did chicken meat and eggs become mass-production commodities. Modern high-volume poultry farms, with rows of cages stacked indoors for control of heat, light, and humidity, began to proliferate in Britain с 1920 and in the U.S. after World War II (see factory farming). Females are raised for meat and eggs; immature males are castrated to become meat birds called capons. See also prairie chicken.

* * *

      one of the most widely domesticated fowl, raised worldwide for its meat and eggs. See poultry.

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Universalium. 2010.

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