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[foul] /faʊl/
noun, plural fowls (especially collectively) fowl.
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.
verb (used without object)
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 confused
foul, fowl. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fowl
  • But the problem is that the commission is neither fish nor fowl.
  • The geese's flight muscles also have more mitochondria-energy-producing structures inside cells-than their fellow fowl.
  • Perhaps a focusing laser in space to slow down their orbits, but then, the threat of fowl play.
  • They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week.
  • Fondling the doll translates into touching the real fowl.
  • Here is a wine with the flavor and acidity to match almost any strongly flavored fowl.
  • But it yet puzzles as whether it be fish, flesh or fowl.
  • Pork and veal also make excellent meatballs, or any combination of these meats and fowl.
  • Last, their meat appears to have less fat than that of feathered fowl.
  • The author's fowl defy the blogosphere and stage a comeback.
British Dictionary definitions for fowl


any other bird, esp any gallinaceous bird, that is used as food or hunted as game See also waterfowl, wildfowl
the flesh or meat of fowl, esp of chicken
an archaic word for any bird
(intransitive) to hunt or snare wildfowl
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with fowl
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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