9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[chik] /tʃɪk/
a young chicken or other bird.
a child.
Slang: Often Offensive. a term used to refer to a girl or young woman.
Origin of chick
1275-1325; Middle English chike, variant of chiken chicken
Can be confused
chic, chick.
Usage note
As a term used to refer to a young woman, chick is slightly dated. Originally it was perceived as insulting because of the perception that it infantilized women. Now the word has been embraced by some women as a positive term of self-reference and an expression of camaraderie. When used as a modifier, as in chick flick and chick lit, its meaning is not restricted to young women and its use is not offensive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chicks
  • Hens cluck loudly after laying an egg, and also to call their chicks.
  • Emu chicks emerging, article with sound clips, photos and videos.
  • Some other species, such as ducks, move their chicks away from the nest at an early age.
  • chicks that are fledging are attracted to streetlights and are unable to reach the sea.
  • The distance between nests ensures sufficient food supply for pairs and their chicks.
  • The giant cowbird does not appear to harm its host oropendola or cacique chicks.
British Dictionary definitions for chicks


the young of a bird, esp of a domestic fowl
(slang) a girl or young woman, esp an attractive one
a young child: used as a term of endearment
Word Origin
C14: short for 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
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Word Origin and History for chicks



mid-14c., shortening of chicken (n.), extended to human offspring (often in alliterative pairing chick and child) and thence used as a term of endearment. As slang for "young woman" it is first recorded 1927 (in "Elmer Gantry"), supposedly from U.S. black slang. In British use in this sense by c.1940; popularized by Beatniks late 1950s. Chicken in this sense is from 1711. Sometimes c.1600-1900 chicken was taken as a plural, chick as a singular (cf. child/children) for the domestic fowl.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for chicks



A woman, esp a young woman

Related Terms

hip chick, slick chick

[1927+ Black; fr chicken; popularized in the beat and hippie movements]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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