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fowl

[foul] /faʊl/
noun, plural fowls (especially collectively) fowl.
1.
the domestic or barnyard hen or rooster; chicken.
Compare domestic fowl.
2.
any of several other, usually gallinaceous, birds that are barnyard, domesticated, or wild, as the duck, turkey, or pheasant.
3.
(in market and household use) a full-grown domestic fowl for food purposes, as distinguished from a chicken or young fowl.
4.
the flesh or meat of a domestic fowl.
5.
any bird (used chiefly in combination):
waterfowl; wildfowl.
verb (used without object)
6.
to hunt or take wildfowl.
Origin
900
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for fowls

fowl

/faʊl/
noun
1.
2.
any other bird, esp any gallinaceous bird, that is used as food or hunted as game See also waterfowl, wildfowl
3.
the flesh or meat of fowl, esp of chicken
4.
an archaic word for any bird
verb
5.
(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 fowls

fowl

n.

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 fowls
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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