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.

before 900; Middle English foul, Old English fugol, fugel; cognate with Old Saxon fugal, Gothic fugls, Old High German fogal (German Vogel)

foul, fowl. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fowl (faʊl)
1.  See domestic fowl
2.  waterfowl See also wildfowl any other bird, esp any gallinaceous bird, that is used as food or hunted as game
3.  the flesh or meat of fowl, esp of chicken
4.  an archaic word for any bird
5.  (intr) to hunt or snare wildfowl
[Old English fugol; related to Old Frisian fugel, Old Norse fogl, Gothic fugls, Old High German fogal]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. fugel "bird," general Gmc. word (cf. Gothic fugls), from P.Gmc. *foglaz (cf. O.N. fugl, M.Du. voghel, Ger. vogel, Goth. fugls), probably by dissimilation from *flug-la-, lit. "flyer," from the same root as O.E. fleogan, modern fly (v.1). Originally "bird;" narrower sense
of "domestic hen or rooster" (the main modern meaning) is first recorded 1580; in U.S. also extended to ducks and geese.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see neither fish nor fowl.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
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.
Idioms & Phrases
Images for fowl
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