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late 14c., "young fowl" (late 13c. as a surname), from Anglo-French pullet, Old French poulette, poilette, diminutive of poule, poille "hen, chicken," from Vulgar Latin *pulla, fem. of Latin pullus "young animal, young fowl" (see foal (n.)). Technically, a young hen from the time she begins to lay until the first molt.