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Meaning of chicken

chick•en

Pronunciation: (chik'un), [key]
— 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. a young or inexperienced person, esp. a young girl.
    1. a cowardly or fearful person.
    2. petty details or tasks.
    3. unnecessary discipline or regulations.
    4. a young male homosexual, esp. one sought as a sexual partner by older men.
  5. 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.
  6. a policy or strategy of challenging an opponent to risk a clash or yield: diplomats playing chicken at the conference table.
  7. 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.
  1. (of food) containing, made from, or having the flavor of chicken: chicken salad; chicken soup.
  2. a chicken regulation.
    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.
—v.i.
  1. I chickened out when I saw how deep the water was.
    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.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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