Green’s Dictionary of Slang

chicken n.

[fig. uses of SE chicken]

1. as a woman.

(a) a young woman, esp. a prostitute; thus chicken-chaser, chicken-hustler, a womanizer; also attrib.

[UK]Middleton & Rowley Old Law (1656) III i: What a spites this, that a man cannot perswade his wife to dye in any time with her good will, I have another bespoke already, though a piece of old beefe will serve to breakfast, yet a man would be glad of a Chicken to supper.
[UK]Greene & Lodge Lady Alimony V iii: Alemoney! what means my Chicken by that?
[UK]School of Venus (2004) 44: Dear Dove, my Heart, my very good child, my Chicken; all these are emblems of affection [...] relate to the dearness of a Child, and harmlessness of a Chicken.
[UK]Humours of a Coffee-House 5 Dec. 71: Jupiter being Detriment with Virgo also, foretels a great Destruction of Men [...] many Chickens in Great Britain shall Die of the Pip.
[UK]Foote Mayor of Garrat in Works (1799) I 171: Notwithstanding, sir, all my chicken has said, I am special company when she is not by.
[UK]F. Pilon He Would be a Soldier VI ii: sir o.: Why, what the devil, man! aren’t you content with one of my chickens, but you must have my old hen in the bargain? la. o.: Old hen! sir o.: Yes, my Lady; when I had you first you were no pullet.
[UK]Observer 4 Dec. 2: The flocks of chicken prostitutes which he observed before Somerset House.
[Aus]Sydney Gaz. 24 Apr.3/1: This chicken in the art of love [etc].
[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 13 Oct. 84/1: ‘Kate, my chicken, here’s precious bit of legislation’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 20 Sept. 2/5: The celebrated Kitty Wright, of famous notoriety, her reputed husband, Lonsdale Wright, and one of her ‘chickens,’ commonly known by the pet soubriquet of Gipsey Maria, were brought before Messrs. Windeyer and Myles, the sitting magistrates.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 13 Apr. 2/6: The house [...] was called ‘the Chicken Club’ [...] for they refused to receive prostitutes.
Man of Pleasure’s Illus. Pocket-book n.p.: FRENCH INTRODUCING HOUSES. [...] The neighbourhood of Leicester Square [...] Covent Garden; [...] Fitzroy Square — are localities were these importers of French mutton, lamb, and chicken set up their shambles.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 28 Feb. 3/2: Kitty Wright, the mother of the maids, and Miss Agnes Mackenzie, one of her pet chickens.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 8 Jan. 3/1: Mrs catherine White and Miss Catherine Connell (birds of a feather, the one being a hen, the other a chicken).
[US] ‘The Jolly Tall Oysterman’ Champagne Charley Songster 40: His dear Leander, a young prairie chicken that lived on Staten Island.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 22 Nov. 15/2: There’s old uncle Bill Tovee, watching with delight somebody’s ‘chicken’ and some one’s ‘mouse’ slogging each other on the stage.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 July 7/4: A certain robust actor in Sydney is noted for being very fond of ‘chickens.’ If he doesn’t take care, he may fall ‘fowl’ of something else.
[UK]Sporting Times 13 Dec. 5/5: The exact meaning of the term ‘spring chicken’ is one which no poultry fancier — and we all fancy a little chicken sometimes — has been able to define.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 23 Dec. 1/5: I’m no lily-livered chicken, and I can manage by myself all right.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Sept. 1/5: A William-street snip has a cute eye for a chicken [and] he brightens up the dreary intervals of spruiking by ogling the girleens.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 20 May 1/1: Chicken just from school are allowed to solicit with impunity.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 131: You’re a classy little chicken.
[Aus]Sun (Kalgoorlie, WA) 2 Aug. 1/1: They Say [...] That a Kanowna claim-workerf still chases chickens o’ nights. That the big burly brother of one of the children he accosted threatens to toss him down a shaft.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 24 Jan. 11/4: [headline] Old Mandy And Her Twin Chickens [...] Pounced Upon By The Police [...] The old dame, Amanda McInnes, 57, was charged with keeping a house [...] frequented by prostitutes.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 14 May [synd. cartoon] Indoor Sports. Calling upon a reporter friend in a newspaper office and using the phone to call up your chicken friends.
[US]Van Loan ‘On Account of a Lady’ in Taking the Count 130: Whitey’s doin’ you dirt with the chicken at the cash register.
[US]J. Lait ‘If a Party Meet a Party’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 97: Do I have to let a lop-eared chicken-chaser like this run me all over town and get away with it?
[US]R.J. Fry Salvation of Jemmy Sl. II i: This classy little chicken, that has driven me clean bugs, is no other than the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Best English.
[US]J. Lait Broadway Melody 98: Unusual for you, you chicken hustler.
[US]C.G. Finney Circus of Dr Lao 90: Why didn’t you tell us she was going to be so goddam old? [...] Hell, I thought we was going to see a chicken.
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 213: Brave girl! [...] Nice chicken!
[US]Long Beach Press-Telegram 14 Dec. 8: Art Unger is the man who sets parents right on what their youngsters mean when they refer to someone as a Poor Pearl (an unpopular girl), as a chicken (engaged girl), [...] or a squeep (a cross between a square and a creep).
[US]C. Cooper Jr Farm (1968) 223: Lissen, Sonja, you ain’t a chicken no more.
[UK]P. Barker Blow Your House Down 124: She can’t have been a chicken, by this time.
[UK](con. 1880) P. Ackroyd Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 57: The death of such a chicken would cause no great stir in the world.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 121: It was going to be a ‘chicken-and-champagne’ party, code for whores-and-hooch.

(b) (US) young women considered collectively; thus sexual intercourse with one.

[US]Indianpolis Star 2 Aug. 5: Stage hands, who were anxious to learn the prevailing words of slang of the season, stood with their jaws agape during the afternoon when the chorus girls twisted the English language into hard knots for their benefit. [...] ‘We are not going to be chorus girls, dears, warblers, chickens, quails or squabs any longer. The correct dope this year is [...] quims.’.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 71: He was fed up on the dago chickens around State Street.
Bob White ‘Pullet & Hen Blues’ [lyrics] If you don’t believe I like chicken, baby, ooh well, let me catch your wing.
[UK]R. Mais Hills were Joyful Together (1966) 69: I’m an old fowl now, chicken is what you want.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 185: Not many of our chickens had been around lately.
[US]Source Nov. 139: More blunts will be passed, more crowds will be pleased and more chickens will get plucked.

(c) (US black) an unattractive (old) woman [on the bad = good model, the direct reverse of the white terms].

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 232: chicken, chickenhead 1. See bat [i.e. unattractive woman].

(d) (US black) an aggressive woman [on the bad = good model].

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 232: chicken, chickenhead [...] 2. Aggressive or belligerent female.

2. the stereotype of the chicken as a cowardly creature.

(a) a timid creature, a coward.

[US]W. Kemp Nine Days’ Wonder in Arber Eng. Garner VII (1883) 37: It did him good to have ill words of a hoddy doddy! a hebber de hoy!, a chicken! a squib!
[UK]Dekker & Webster Northward Hoe I i: I warrant her husband was forth a Towne all this while [...] whilst she was at home with her Plouers, Turkey, Chickens.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]Farquhar Beaux’ Strategem IV ii: gibbet: Well, my dear Bonny, you assure me that Scrub is a coward? boniface: A chicken, as the saying is.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]Fielding Joseph Andrews (1954) II 127: I am not afraid of dying with a blow or two neither: I am not such a chicken as that.
[UK]‘A. Burton’ Adventures of Johnny Newcome I 46: The first, who fancied John a chicken, Stood out, and promised him a licking.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 244: All characters are safe here [...] The cocks are considered to be game, and the hens belong to the same breed, but chickens cannot be admitted.
[UK]Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit (1995) 651: Why, what a chicken you are! You are not afraid of being robbed, are you?
[UK]Leicester Chron. 7 June 12/2: I didn’t think you were such a chicken.
[US](con. 1875) F.T. Bullen Cruise of the ‘Cachalot’ 56: Although no chicken I nearly fainted too, from conflicting emotions of sympathy and impotent rage.
[UK]Marvel XIV:358 2: This chicken wants to make out he’s a hull hornet’s nest of bad men from No Man’s Land.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 125: If you want to have a fight [...] I’m on. I’m no chicken.
[US]Laurents & Sondheim West Side Story I i: The Jets are in gear, / Our cylinders are clickin’! / The Sharks’ll steer clear / ’Cause ev’ry Puerto Rican / ’S a lousy chicken!
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 226: Train Chicken was the latest up-to-datest, but I was a bit of a chicken. I could only go along past about three doorways and then I got the shakes and chickened out.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 129: Chicken [...] I wouldn’t let one grand slip like that, let alone the lot.
[US]J. Webb Fields of Fire (1980) 221: Make your hat, Chicken-man!
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 425: A weakling, scaredy-cat, or chicken.
[US](con. 1933) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 10: He knew he would do it, on account of being a chicken in front of Steve Mamakos.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] chicken n. 1) coward 2) also game of dare where one is supposed to carry out some act of extreme stupidity.
[SA]IOL Cape Western News (SA) 14 Feb. [Internet] Bunch of chickens, all these so-called Freedom fighters and not one has the courage to stand up against Malena.

(b) (also chicking) a weak or naïve person.

[UK]W. Godwin Caleb Williams (1966) 243: You are not such a chicken as to suppose, if so be as you are innocent, that that will make your game altogether sure.
[UK]Thackeray Yellowplush Papers in Works III (1898) 364: Your no such chicking at play-writing, this being the forth.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 118: ‘He is a hinnocent chicken we doubts,’ said Peter.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Feb. 12/2: When [...] tinned salmon is a flyin’ about, I want to cop my little portion. […] You and me’s no chickens at this game.
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 351: When you go flat-catching again, take your street whispers to the chickens in Rotten Row.
[UK]P. Theroux London Embassy 150: Forgot our thermal underwear, didn’t we, chicken?

(c) (US black) a sheepish, foolish grin.

[US]H. Sebastian ‘Negro Sl. in Lincoln University’ in AS IX:4 288: chicken A more or less foolish, or sheepish, grin.

(d) (US) cowardice.

[US]Kramer & Karr Teen-Age Gangs 33: Well, I didn’t show no chicken. I didn’t cringe none.
[US]I. Freeman Out of the Burning (1961) 205: They learn you that chicken in training school?

(e) (orig. US teen) a contest of nerve in which two cars drive towards either each other or an obstacle, cliff edge etc – the loser being the driver who turns aside first; thus any form of foolish dare-devilry; also ext. to fig. use.

[US]F.L. Allen ‘The Changes It Wrought’ in Brookhouser These Were Our Years (1959) 147: Youngsters had learned to play ‘chicken’ and hot-rod enthusiasts had taken to the road.
[US]Mad mag. Dec. 47: I love hot rods. My favorite relaxation is playing ‘chicken’ at 110 MPH.
[US]Sandusky Register (OH) 19 Nov. n.p.: Chicken and other such sport are for the birds.
[US](con. 1944) A. Bergman Big Kiss-Off 169: These guys are apparently playing chicken.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 138: Neither [side] appears willing to compromise in this game of chicken.

3. in the context of size.

(a) used as a direct address to a child or young woman.

[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Bonduca V iv: Oh my chicken, / My dear boy.
[UK]Fletcher Women Pleased I ii: isabella: ’Twill stir a Saint, and I am but a woman, And by that tenure may— lopez: By no meanes Chicken, You know I love ye.
[UK]T. Randolph Jealous Lovers IV ii: Deare chicken, / You shall not be so sad [...] by this kisse I’le make you merry.
[UK]T. Rawlins Rebellion II i: [to a man] Deare, when we are married Ile have such a one; Shall I not chicken?
[UK]‘M.W.’ Marriage Broaker IV i: lyd.: Good friends do not abuse the Gentleman. serj.: We’le not abuse him chicken, for thy sake.
[UK]Otway Soldier’s Fortune III i: Why, chicken, where’s the remedy?
[UK]M. Pix Innocent Mistress II iii: Yet if you’ll be kind, my dear chicken, they shall wait for me in vain.
[UK]Farquhar Recruiting Officer III i: plume: Here, you chickens! rose: Who calls? plume: Come hither, pretty maid.
[UK]J. Gay Wife of Bath I i: They claim the Title, Chicken, but ods-my-life, we always dispute the Power.
[UK]J. Addison Drummer III i: Give me your hand, chicken.
[UK]C. Coffey Boarding-School 38: Come along, my dear, dear, little Chicken.
[UK]G. Colman Polly Honeycombe 3: nurse: Elope! Chicken, what’s that? polly: Why, in the vulgar phrase, run away.
[UK]Foote Maid of Bath in Works (1799) II 239: Come hither, my chicken.
[UK]M.P. Andrews Fire and Water! (1790) 22: Yes, my sweet chicken, I am in love with you up to the hilts.
Man of Pleasure’s Illus. Pocket-book n.p.: [S]he has now turned to the pious dodge, and calls them her darters, her chickens, and kids.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 421: Come, just be a little reasonable, my chicken.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 23 Mar. 15/1: One of them ginks that thinks [...] all he is to do to make friends with a lady is to step up to her and [...] say, hello chickin [sic].
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 119: I will, chicken, I will.
[Aus]D. Ireland Burn 79: ‘Chicken, will you marry me,’ he says with casual good humour.
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 62: Okay, chicken.
[UK](con. 1880) P. Ackroyd Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 27: Why, little chicken, you must have performed a nice bit of business to become so dusty.
[Ire]P. Howard PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids 147: You take care of yourself, Chicken.

(b) a young man, often as a direct address; as this chicken, self-referential.

[UK]Vanbrugh Confederacy II ii: But hast thou said a little something to her, Chicken, for an expiring Lover ha?
[UK]T. Whittell ‘Johnny Brecking’s Wedding’ Poetical Works 135: Why do you not eat your meat, my chickens?
[UK]Jack Randall’s Diary 71: Pearce was a native of Bristol, and was called the ‘Game Chicken,’ from his never being defeated.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 83: There was a most excellent mill at Moulsey Hurst on Thursday last, between the Gas-light man, who appears to be a game chicken, and a prime hammerer—he can give and take with any man—and Oliver—Gas beat him hollow, it was all Lombard-street to a china orange.
[Aus]Australian (Sydney) 11 July 4/2: [T]he report is current of a ‘game chicken’ — a hardy, chubby [...] Scot, ‘frae land of cakes and Johnny Groat’s’.
[UK]Navy at Home II 110: Well, my game chicken, since nothing else will serve your turn, I’ll accommodate you!
[US]D. Corcoran Picking from N.O. Picayune 116: You’re a hard chicken at all events [...] Blow me if I can get the hang of you.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 11 June 2/7: One young cock of the Fitzregal breed (a regular game chicken).
[US] in N.E. Eliason Tarheel Talk (1956) 265: I will burn his damd ass off with tar [...] tha cant sker this chicken.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 57: I am no chicken (though not the gray-headed old fogey that insulting Squirrel presumes to call me).
letter q. in Wiley Life of Jjohnny Reb (1943) 128: If there is another war this chicken wont be thar when they enlist.
[US]H.L. Williams N.-Y. After Dark 91: He has never practised on ‘these Dutch machines, but he’s a tough chicken who has dodged peelers in new buildings and jumped railings a little too “once in a while” for him not to have a shake out of them’.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 215: Look here, my chicken [...] if you but hurt a hair of those men’s heads, I’ll send a bullet through your body.
[US](con. 1861–5) J.D. Billings Hardtack and Coffee 52: A Marblehead man called his chum his ‘chicken’, more especially if the latter was a young soldier.
[UK]Bird o’ Freedom 1 Jan. 1/4: Five bob [...] and dirt cheap, my chicken.
[UK]H. Nisbet Bushranger’s Sweetheart 35: Don’t you lose sight of this chicken when we land, if you are wise; for he’ll take care that you’re not diddled.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 198: I ain’t no chicken—passed my forty-eighth birthday last month.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 5 Jan. 9/5: Sez he:— ‘That was near a goner / For this chicken, I declare!’.
[US] Transcript Foster Inq. in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 46: ‘If a man was walking around and did not act real masculine, I would think he was a cocksucker.’ Another physician reportedly kept a ‘little short’ orderly as his ‘chicken’.
[US]Danville Bee (VA) 27 May 3/1: The U. S. Navy has a language or a ‘slanguage’ all its own. For instance [...] a young sailor [is] a ‘chicken.’.
[UK]J. Franklyn This Gutter Life 124: I’m no chicken, I’m over thirty.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘Old Man’s Story’ A Man and His Wife (1944) 81: He was no chicken, in his fifties perhaps.
[UK]M. Allingham Hide My Eyes (1960) 79: He’s no chicken. An elderly feller called Bullard. Been here years.
[US]J. Kirkwood There Must Be a Pony! 243: Hey, chicken, you ever hear of Jelly Roll?

(c) a pint pot, the smaller container of the hen and chickens under hen n.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 256/1: The hens and chickens of the roguish low lodging-houses are the publican’ pewter measures; the bigger vessels are ‘hens;’ the smaller are ‘chickens’.

4. as an image of sexual vulnerability and/or youth [note 19C US milit. jargon chicken, a close friend or young ‘buddy’].

(a) an underage girl, in a sexual context.

implied in chicken man
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.
[UK]P. Theroux Kowloon Tong 22: ‘You want a chicken,’ the Mamasan would say to Bunt.

(b) anything young, small or insignificant.

[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 331: During the second day — John Webber, of Exeter, and Holmes, literally a couple of chickens, presented themselves. The former [...] scarcely eighteen years of age.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]R. Rowe Picked Up in the Streets 289: Well, you ain’t a chicken.

(c) a novice, esp. a young boxer.

[UK]G.R. Sims How the Poor Live 79: The friendly bouts with the gloves between local ‘chickens’ and ‘novices’ [...] were once regular Saturday night amusements.
[US] in Journal Hist. Sexuality V 593: Fourteen young men were invited [...] with the premise that they would have the opportunity of meeting some of the prominent ‘queers,’ [...] and the further attraction that some ‘chickens’ as the new recruits in the vice are called, would be available.
[US]P. Kendall Dict. Service Sl. n.p.: chicken . . . extremely young recruit.

(d) (gay) an underage boy, or such boys considered collectively.

[US]Congressional Record 21 Apr. 3637: I saw an admirable illustration of the affection which a sailor will lavish on a ship’s boy to whom he takes a fancy, and makes his ‘chicken’ as the phrase is [DA].
[US]L.A. Times 14 Nov. II (letter reprinted from Sacramento Bee ) 8: There is the pitiable, the most outrageous, part of all – the jaded appetites of these loathsome degenerates, after a time, are not satisfied with each other; they demand young boys – ‘chickens,’ they call them – and they will stoop to almost anything to satisfy their desire in this regard.
[US] (ref. to late 19C) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 237: Big Nellie said he didn’t mind. ‘The chicken was so scared he was no use at all and was just a wet blanket on the party. He’s too fucking normal.’.
[UK]T. Croft Cloven Hoof 65: ‘Chicken’: a very young boy.
[US]‘Swasarnt Nerf’ et al. Gay Girl’s Guide 5: chicken: Adolescent, homosexual or not.
[US]‘Swasarnt Nerf’ Gaedicker’s Sodom-on-the-Hudson 5: It is also one of the best places [...] for non-professional chicken.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 216: Let your hair down, chicken. You’ll feel better.
[US]Homosexuality & Citizenship in Florida 13: It is this type of youth who ‘goes out for chickens’ by becoming an active recruiter of very young boys.
[SA]L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 106: An ‘Angelina’, a ‘chicken’, or a ‘lamb’ is a boy who travels around with an older tramp for homosexual purposes.
[US]E. Newton Mother Camp 27: The segregation is roughly by decades: ‘chickens’ under twenty; [...] and ‘aunties,’ forty and over.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 151: Winnie fucks this virgin chicken.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 189: ‘So, tell me, my friend.’ ‘Chicken. I like chicken,’ Whistler said. ‘How much you want to spend?’.
[US]B. Gifford Sinaloa Story 224: A club called Chicken in a Basket [...] where older gentlemen went to meet young boys.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 129: Peavy runs male prostitutes. Peavy sells choice chicken.

(e) attrib. use of sense 4d.

[UK]Oz 3 9/2: The merchants put up chicken posters saying, ‘For your own safety, get off the street.’.

(f) (US Und.) a kidnap victim.

[US]A. Hynd We Are the Public Enemies 132: Go around in circles so the chicken won’t know where you are takin’ him.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

(g) a child who is used for paedophiliac sexual exploitation.

[US]Maledicta IX 155: Young chits, fresh meat and fresh fish [...] pretties and chicken (tender white meat) are chased by rapacious chicken-hawks.
[UK]Indep. 17 Sept. 1: Turner was known to the other men as the ‘chickenmaster’ for his ability to procure children – referred to as ‘chickens’ by paedophiles.
M.E. Dassad ‘Chickenhawk’ at [Internet] I’d been hunting chicken at the New York Port Authority for about six months when I picked up Karen, fresh off the bus from Chicago, a runaway from one of the rich ’burbs that circle that city.

(h) a young lesbian.

J. Grey Twilight Girls n.p.: Your little Edie is a Mary Jane — a chicken for some dyke.
[US] Queer Sl. in the Gay 90s [Internet] Chicken – Anyone who is under the legal age of consent. Young gays & lesbians.

(i) a young heterosexual male prostitute, servicing only women.

[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 30: Replace happiness with pleasure. The whole thing is great training for being a chicken. [Ibid.] 32: Many many many times in my chicken career, women want me naked while they’re fully clothed.

5. (US) a thing, a phenomenon.

[US]H.N. Moore Fitzgerald and Hopkins 141: Them’s the queerest chickens I ever seed in my life [DA].

6. (US) bacon, sausages.

[US]A. Adams Log Of A Cowboy 123: As he helped himself to a third piece of ‘fried chicken’ (bacon).
[US]P. Kendall Dict. Service Sl. n.p.: Army chicken . . . beans and frankfurters.

7. a person, no cowardice is implied.

[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 38: ‘I’ll use the phone,’ Green said. ‘But I know what answer I’ll get. You’re a sick chicken, Marlowe. A very sick chicken.’.

8. (US drugs) a kilo of (crack) cocaine [play on bird n.7 (1)].

Young Jeezy ‘Quarter Block’ [lyrics] Brand new chickens all day like I’m Chick-Fil-A.

9. see chickenshit n. (5)

Sexual contexts

In compounds

chicken-butcher (n.)

see separate entry.

chicken-chaser (n.)

1. (US) a womanizer; thus chicken-chasing.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Apr. 1/1: The hoary chicken-chaser’s proposal to one muscular hash-heaver procured him a biff on the point.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 22 Jan. 1/1: A Fremantle magnate’s fondness for chicken-chasing will yet land him in trouble.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 31 Jan. 2/4: Chicken-Chaser Holt Who Makes a Meet with ‘Sweet Fourteen’ Is Biffed, Jugged and Fined.
F.R. Bellamy Balance 92: ‘Who is this Thompson?’ asks Sammy. [...] ‘Looks like a chicken chaser to me’.
[US]C.S. Montanye ‘The Dizzy Dumb-Bell’ in Top Notch 1 Aug. [Internet] Perry couldn’t have been more of a chicken chaser if he had been a clerk for a poultry dealer.
R. Garis Amusement Park 183: Lowenstein had seen the boy advance slowly to the status of a Park ‘sharpie,’ had observed his success as a chicken-chaser.
K. Crichton Total Recoil 46: Chico Marx got his nickname from the old slang phrase ‘chicken chaser.’ In each new town, he leaped from the train before it stopped and was in the hotel lobby holding the hand of the girl behind the cigar counter before the others could get a look-in.
(con. 1930s) S. Mayfield Constant Circle 63: As often as not, he prefaced these introductions with a jocular warning— ‘You have to watch him, he's a garter snapper,’ or ‘Be careful, he’s a leg pincher,’ or ‘He’s a charming fellow but a chicken-chaser’.

2. an older woman who purses young men as lovers.

[US]Harper’s Mag. 57 35/3: Is the equivalent of that expressive term ‘chicken chaser’ ever applied to women of the same class? It is quite true that every now and again a middle-aged or even elderly woman makes a fool of herself by marrying a young man.
chicken-chasing (adj.)

(US) used of one who pursues underage boys; thus chicken-chaser.

R. Loyd For Money or Love: Boy Prostitution in America 98: There is another area in the chicken-literary business that deserves attention: the paperback book. [...] They’re readily available by the hundreds in any adult bookstore. Chicken Chaser, Wynter's Tail [etc.].
J. Swaggart Rape of a Nation 143: Scores of pornographic paperbacks flood the market with such titles as Chicken Chaser, Wynter's Tail, Jock Stud, Buddy's Butt, [...] Door-to-Door Chicken, Meat My Buddy, The Child Watchers, [etc.].
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Where I Get My Weird Shit’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 36: My dad thinks he’s a fruit [...] a chicken-chasing Charlie.
chicken dinner (n.)

1. (US black) an attractive young woman.

[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 78: When we saw one of our buddies blowing his top over some chicken dinner we pitied him.

2. (US gay) a young or underage boy, in the context of his being the subject of fellatio; thus have a chicken dinner, to fellate an underage boy.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[US]H. Max Gay (S)language.
chicken fancier (n.) (US)

1. a womanizer.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 97: I was acquainted with all the chorus squabs and stars — I was a chicken fancier.
[US]Goodwin’s Wkly (Salt Lake City, UT) 9 Mar. 4/2: As a corporation lawyer and a ‘chicken fancier’ he [...] could hardly be persuaded [...] to desert his prize winners here for the brighter plumed birds of the Capital.

2. (US) one who pursues girls under the age of consent.

[US]T.A. Dorgan Silk Hat Harry’s Divorce Suit 21 Aug. [synd. cartoon strip] I see they put 13 chicken fanciers in the cooler yesterday — ha-ha [...] They won’t nab me.

3. (also chicken-freak) a male homosexual paedophile.

[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases 42: chicken fancier (Sl.) A male Homosexual who prefers a very young love partner.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 45: chicken-freak elderly man with a voracious appetite for young roosters; one with a psychotic need for young men; frequently, he can’t experience orgasm with any save young men. It is widely believed that chicken freaks were seduced into committing homosexual acts when they were children.
chicken-hawk (n.)

see separate entry.

chicken inspector (n.)

(US) a womanizer, a lady-killer.

Bissell Hist. of 63rd Infantry LXIII:4 154: The Baldwin brothers spent most of their off-guard time in the sardine cannery; it was impossible to determine whether they were sardine packers or chicken inspectors – or both.
[US]New Yorker 28 Apr. 16/2: Readers of mature years will remember Chicken Inspector badges.
[US]Life II Apr. 33: [The] chicken inspector’s badge [...] goes with 23-skidoo and oh-you-kid.
[US](con. c.1900) J. Thompson King Blood (1989) 205: Don’ kid me, kid. I a chicken inspector.
[US](con. 1920s) R.A. Wilson Playboy’s Bk of Forbidden Words 66: Various witty fellows wore lapel buttons saying ‘Chicken inspector’.
G. Crosby Jewish World Rev. 12 Jan. [Internet] Twenty-three skidoo, oh, you kid, banana oil, chicken inspector, and hot cha cha date back to the 1920s and are phrases that have lost virtually all meaning for anyone under the age of, say, eighty.
G. Proops at Caroline’s Comedy Club 6 Dec. [transcript] When I was in high school, back in the ’20s – oh did we have a good time, we would just Charleston all day long [dances]. You bet we would. Chicken inspector, I’ll say she is! Yowzah Yowzah! We’d get in the jalopy and just... drink hooch.
chicken man (n.)

1. a paedophile.

[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy I 202: Sir – , the chicken man, / With pimp -a-t in the van, / The Spy of an old Spy; / Who beat up for recruits in town, / ’Mong little girls, in chequer’d gown, / Of ages rather shy. [note] The redoubtable general’s penchant for little girls has obtained him the tender appellation of the chicken man.

2. (Aus. prison) one who has been jailed for bestiality.

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Chicken man. A person in prison for bestiality.
chicken-pox (n.) [pun on SE; there is no apparent link to the pox n.1 (1)]

(US gay) the urge to have sex with underage boys.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[US]Maledicta III:2 222: An egg-sucker chasing youths and his own youth is scorned for disgracing himself, embarrassing others, suffering from chicken pox.
chicken queen (n.) [-queen sfx (2)]

(US gay) an older homosexual man who prefers sex with teenage boys.

[US]Lavender Lex. n.p.: chicken queen: a homosexual who shows interest in youthful males and seeks them out to engage, in the receptor role, as sex partners.
[US]A. Maupin Tales of the City (1984) 102: I hope you’re not a chicken queen. I’m twenty-six.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 79: This kind of chicken, often preyed upon by older men known as chicken hawks or chicken queens, goes back to the nineteenth century.
[US]Alt. Eng. Dict. [Internet] chicken queen gay male who is attracted to underage males homosexuals.
chicken ranch (n.) (also chicken-house) [the original mid-19C Chicken Ranch was at Gilbert, Texas. One ety. suggests that the clients, mainly local farmers, paid for their pleasures with chickens, but more likely is a use of sense 3a above]

a brothel.

[US]C. McKay Banjo 20: I like the looks of a chicken-house.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad.
chicken rustler (n.)

(US gay) a male homosexual who has been placed in charge of underage boys, e.g. a scoutmaster or choirmaster.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.

In phrases

Pertaining to cowardice or weakness

In compounds

chicken fight (n.)

(US) a contest of nerves.

I. Shaw ‘Borough of Cemeteries’ in Sailor Off The Bremen Stories 282: ‘Get into yer cab, Angelo. I’ll drive mine, we’ll have a chicken fight.’ [...] The two cars spurted at each other, head-on. As they hit, glass broke and a fender flew off and the cars skidded wildly.
chicken gizzard (n.)

(US) a coward.

[US]C.W. Webber Hunter-Naturalist 85: You d—n pack of chicken-gizzards, niggers! [HDAS].
chicken-gutted (adj.) (also chickengut)

(US) cowardly.

[US]H. Ellison Web of the City (1983) 160: They had never been chickengut while he was top man.
[US]Stone et al. Ride the High Country [film script] You’re too chicken-gutted to finish this thing out in the open [HDAS].
[US]B. Hitchin in Sun (London) n.p.: Our gallant European allies are a bunch of chicken-gutted, lily-livered, double-crossing, back-stabbing cowards. And that’s only for openers.
C. Banks ‘If I Were a Taliban’ at InstaPundit 13 Nov. [Internet] If I were a Taliban; / I wouldn’t have to fight hard / Hell-with-Ramadan-just-run-before-your-home-becomes-a-slum, / If I were a chicken-gutted-bitch, / Lady-beating-wussy-Taliban.

see separate entries.


see separate entries.

In phrases

play chicken (v.)

1. to challenge another person by attempting to see who ‘cracks’ first in a given situation.

[UK]J. Quirk No Red Ribbons (1968) 156: You’re playing chicken, all of you.
[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 94: The phone rang, and the two divisions played chicken to see who was going to pick it up.
[US]C. Heath A-Team 2 (1984) 111: I think we’ll play a little game of chicken on the bridge ...
[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 271: He loved to play chicken and this was the perfect opportunity to test my nerve.
[UK]Guardian 19 Aug. 1: This is now a game of chicken with the Beeb – the only way they will shift is if they see the screw tightening.

2. to indulge in dangerous games, usu. to drive two cars straight at each other or in parallel towards a hazard (e.g. clifftop) and see who backs down first.

[US]H. Salisbury Shook-Up Generation (1961) 31: They sometimes play ‘chicken’ – the suicidal game in which two drivers race their cars head-on at each other.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 226: They never actually caught us playing chicken because we didn’t play it near the station.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 124: Playing chicken behind the slaughterhouse with abandoned electric street cars.
[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 32: The young cop played chicken with the approaching headlights, veering at the last second.
[US]R. Marcinko Rogue Warrior (1993) 353: He careered through back alleys, slalomed the wrong way up one-way streets, and doubled back to play ‘chicken’ with his pursuers.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 5 Feb. 78: Lorry drivers like to play chicken with their wing mirrors, and pass each other at 60mph on country lanes with a good inch to spare between them.
[US]K. Huff A Steady Rain I iii: It was [...] crazier the way he was driving, up on sidewalks, playing chicken with pedestrians.
BBC World Radio 25 July [Internet] People might say you’re playing chicken with the world economy.

3. (US black) to intrude on another (man’s) sexual advances [fig. use of sense 1, i.e. the intruder ‘dares’ his rival].

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 135: He wants to try to play chicken an’ steal somebody’s old lady.

Other uses

In compounds

chicken coop (n.) (US)

1. any small place.

[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘Tobin’s Palm’ in Four Million (1915) 4: We went into the enchanted chicken coop, which was filled with mysterious red cloths, and pictures of hands.
[US]A.C. Huber Diary of a Doughboy 4 Sept. [Internet] The little chicken-coop box cars with their signs ‘40 Hommes and 8 Chevaux,’ looked more like a cattle train.

2. (US Und.) a women’s prison.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

3. a police car or patrol wagon.

[US] in DARE.

4. an outside lavatory.

[US] in DARE.

5. (US gay) any place filled with attractive young men, e.g. a basketball game.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 45: chicken-coop any place filled to the brim with nubile young men; basketball games, etc.

In phrases

no chicken (also no spring chicken, not any chicken)

1. a phr. describing someone, often a woman, who is no longer young (or attractive).

[UK]Swift ‘Stella’s Birthday’ in Works (1812) 189: Pursue your trade of scandel-picking, Your hints that Stella is no chicken.
[UK]Swift Polite Conversation 21: I swear she’s no Chicken; she’s on the wrong Side of thirty if she be a Day.
[UK]Fielding Joseph Andrews (1954) II 145: Adams, who was no chicken, and could bear a drubbing as well as any boxing champion in the universe, lay still.
[UK]Smollett Humphrey Clinker (1925) II 167: The knight swore he was no such chicken, but a tough old rogue.
[UK]Thackeray Paris Sketch Book I 143: Well, Marlborough was no chicken when he began to show his genius.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 57: I am no chicken (though not the gray-headed old fogey that insulting Squirrel presumes to call me.).
[UK]G.A. Sala Quite Alone III 81: She is no chicken, and that’s a fact.
[US] ‘English Sl.’ in Eve. Telegram (N.Y.) 9 Dec. 1/5: Let us present a few specimens:– [...] ‘He’s no chicken.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 30 Oct. 4/1: When a young man speaks of a very pretty girl he says she is a duck; but a woman is apt to say of a very pretty girl, she is no chicken.
G. Drage Cyril 29: I don’t think that Miss Viera is any chicken.
[US]Salt Lake Herald (UT) 2 Feb. 4/5: ‘Oh! she’s no spring chicken,’ he replied.
[US]Owingsville Outlook (KY) 3 Sept. 4/8: She’s no chicken; she’s on the wrong side of thirty if she’s a day.
W.S. Maugham Of Human Bondage (1991) 140: ‘She’s no chicken, Louisa,’ he said. ‘She was nearly grown up when we were in Lincolnshire, and that was twenty years ago.’.
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] Good Old Iron [lyrics] Still I’m no chicken, but everything's complete.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 724: He was on the cards this morning when I laid out the deck union with a young stranger neither dark nor fair you met before I thought it meant him but hes no chicken nor a stranger either.
[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 568: All college slang, of course, borrows heavily from the general slang vocabulary. For example, chicken, which designated a young girl on most American campuses until 1921 or thereabout, was used by Steele in 1711, and, in the form of no chicken, by Swift in 1720.
[UK]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 81: Mind you, Mary is no chicken. Only the day I was thinking that she’s within a kick of the arse of thirty.
[UK]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 81: And mind you, Mary is no chicken.
[US]A. James America’s Homosexual Underground 117: As for sex, I’m no chicken, but I’m still going strong.
[US] in S. Harris Hellhole 149: This broad, Birdie, she is no chicken having had three different sets of kids by three fathers.
[Ire]C. Brown Down All the Days 139: She was no chicken ... thirty if she was a day.
[US]S. King Finders Keepers (2016) 135: He’s sixty-six, no spring chicken.

2. (Aus.) being of substantial size.

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 17 Feb. 6/2: Allsopp’s colt by Gibraltar [...] is another giant, and Forte by the same sire is no chicken.
that’s the chicken

(Aus.) a general term of approbation.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Oct. 48/1: ‘My daddy!’ said the boy patting Chiller’s scrubby face. / ‘That’s the chicken!’ cried the bigamist cheerfully.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

chickenbone special (n.) [the bags of homemade fried chicken taken by Southern blacks on railroad trips; segregation kept them from using the whites-only dining cars]

(US black) anything second-rate, inferior, cheap and unattractive.

(ref. to late 1950s) D.E. Walls Chickenbone Special 82: ‘That’s this old “Chickenbone Special” for you.’ [...] The name is thought to have originated back in the late fifties among a group of black graduate students at Temple University in Philadelphia ... [R]eminiscing about life in the Carolinas, they discovered that most if [sic] them had come north at one time or another on the same train. Further, they remembered the lunches packed by anxious mothers for sons and daughters who could not afford the prices charged on railroad dining cars. Invariably, those lunches contained at least one piece of fried chicken, as they still do.
[US]C. Major Juba to Jive 90: chickenbone special n. (1950s’) metaphor for anything that is inferior, but originally it referred to a bag of greasy fried chicken southern Negroes took on train trips probably because food from the diner was unavailable to them.
[US]Wall Street Journal 21 May [Internet] For decades, of course, New York looked pretty good to black Southerners. In the first half of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands, especially from Georgia and the Carolinas, packed their worldly goods and box lunches and rode the Chickenbone Special out of the Jim Crow South, following the drinking gourd to seek a better life in Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant.

see separate entries.

chicken-butcher (n.)

see separate entry.

chicken butt (n.) [butt n.1 (1a); its innate insignificance]

(US black) nothing, no matter, forget it; used in response to the query what’s up?

[US](con. 1920s–30s) J.O. Killens Youngblood (1956) 121: ‘What?’ ‘Chicken butt — Go behind and lick it up.’.
[US] in Andrews & Owens Black Lang. in Major (1994).
chicken cock (n.) [regional AmE chicken cock, a cockerel, but note cite 1908]

(US black) bootleg bourbon.

[Nevada State Jrnl (Reno, NV) 29 Jan. 4/3: Small sample bottles of ‘Chicken Cock Whiskey’ [and] a large framed painting of the famous chicken cocks from which the name is taken].
[US](con. 1920s–30s) Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 11: They sold that baaad bourbon called chicken cock.
chicken-eater (n.) [members of the congregation would give the preacher roast chicken for his Sunday lunch] (US)

1. a preacher, esp. an unprofessional, part-time lay preacher; thus chicken-eating adj.

[Raleigh Christian Advocate (NC) 13 May 1/3: The opinion generally obtains that preacehrs are great ‘chicken eaters;’ and a preacher that wears a moustache and don’t eat chicken is [...] an oddity].
Pittsburgh Wkly Gaz. (PA) 27 May 2/2: Roost high, oh ye feathered beasts, for the chicken eaters are come to the great city. Guard well the back doors to your gin-mills, oh ye dispensers of benzine, for the throats that are enveloped in white chokers are often athirst. Look well to your foor-footed beasts, for horse flesh hath ever a powerful attraction for the Methodist deacon .
Wkly Caucasian (Lexington, MS) 1 Aug. 1/7: A host of reverend chicken-eaters have signified their intention to brush up their seedy stove-pipes and attend.
[US]Morn. News (Wilmington, DE) 18 Mar. 3/3: When the members of the M.E. Conference [...] were coming out of church the other day, a crowd of boys greeted them with shouts of ‘Chicken eaters! Here comes the chicken eaters!’.
[US]Richmond Planet (VA) 26 Dec. 3/3: Having been talked to [...] by the chicken-eater preachers of the 5th Church.
[US]Anaconda Standard (MT) 22 Feb. 9/2: He alluded to the ‘little, half-starved, chicken-eating preacher’ who never had his salary fully paid.
Winnipeg Trib. (Manitoba) 5 Oct. 8/3: ‘I’d rather be the humblest little rabbit-eyed, bow-legged, chicken-eating preacher than the greatest actor that ever lived’.
[US]Harder Collection n.p.: Chicken-eater [...] A preacher [DARE].
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 158: I can see you ain’ gon be no doctor or lawyer or chicken-eating preacher.
[US] in DARE.
[US]G. Smitherman Black Talk 78: chicken eater A preacher; a derogatory term. Traditionally the preacher ate Sunday dinner at a church member’s house and was given his pick of the chicken, with the children eating last, whatever was left. They expressed their resentment by calling the preacher a chicken eater.

2. a Methodist.

Wkly Caucasian (Lexington, MS) 27 Sept. 3/4: The illustrious chicken-eaters of the Southern Methodist Conference.
[US] in DARE.
chickenfeed (n.)

see separate entry.

chicken fixings (n.) (also chicken fixins) [the trimmings that accompany a roast chicken]

(US) trifles, small possessions.

[Milwaukee Sentinel (WI) 20 Aug. 2/4: Arkansas Tavern Rates [...] ‘Four bitts for a common dinner of bacon, greens, bread and meat —six bitts if we add chicken ‘fixins’’].
[US]Maumee City Exp. (OH) 28 Mar. 1/5: The youthful Queen and her consort are in a fair way to have their meal out of the very chicken fixings of human existence.
[US]D. Corcoran Pickings from N.O. Picayune (1847) 48: I heerd you’d give us two dollars a day and throw in the ‘chicken fixins’ and ‘corn doins’ .
[US]M.J. Holmes Tempest and Sunshine 30: We don’t have any of your chicken fixings nor little three-cornered handkerchiefs laid out at each plate.
[US]J.C. Duval Adventures of Big-Foot Wallace 284: The Mexican war had ended, and that chap with the gold epaulets on his shoulders and the ‘chicken-fixings’ on his coat-sleeves had mustered us out of the service and paid us off.
Sthrn Stand (McMinnville, TN) 23 Apr. 1/3: Send a two cent stamp to Richard H. Young, Westboro, Mass., for ‘Chicken Fixings’. It will make you smile.
[US]G.A. England ‘Rural Locutions of Maine and Northern New Hampshire’ in DN IV:ii 70: chicken-fixin’s, n. Anything fancy, in food, dress or otherwise. ‘With all the little chicken-fixin’s on.’.
chicken-fucker (n.)

(US) a general derog. term; often intensified as bald-headed chicken-fucker.

[US] joke in G. Legman Rationale of the Dirty Joke (1972) I 207: Suddenly two bald-headed men enter, and the parrot says, ‘You two chicken-fuckers come out in the hen-house with me’.
R. Zombie Devil’s Rejects [film script] clevon: Did you hear what he called me, Boss? I ain’t no chicken fucker! ... darrell: I’m not callin’ you a chicken fucker.
posting at 11 May [Internet] Fucking DO Something!!! Walk out! Shut down the Senate! Give a speech calling Bush a bald-headed chicken-fucker!! T-P the Whitehouse! But for the love of Yahweh, DO SOMETHING!!!
chicken hazard (n.)

a version of the dice gambling game hazard played for small stakes only, i.e. silver coins rather than gold.

[UK]Egan Life and Adventures of Samuel Hayward 105: Driven from the patrician subscription gaming-rooms, he was content to push in among the seedy coves and risk his half bull at chicken-hazard*. [*A silver table, i.e. where persons can play for shillings or half-crowns].
[UK]Punch 28 May 220/1: Lord De Grey’s dismissal [...] of the clerks in the Accountant-General’s Office for playing at chicken-hazard during office-hours.
chicken hockey (n.) [hockie n. (1)]

(US) one’s fig. intestines, innards, i.e. the ‘stuffing’, the ‘daylights’; usu. in phr. kick/knock the chicken-hockey out of.

[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 28: I’ll smack the chicken hockey outta you.
chicken-lifter (n.) [lift v. (1a)]

(US) a chicken thief; thus any form of petty thief and by ext., a corrupt or incompetent individual.

Clarkesville Chron. (TN) 24 Apr. 1/8: The ‘sacred school fund’ [was] squandered on the magificent combination of horse-thieves, chicken lifters and highway-men.
[US]Fayetteville Obs. (TN) 13 May 2/2: There never was a more inexcusable enqactment than the one passed by the leigslature enrolling Brownlow’s chicken-lifters. The ostensible purpose was to punish the Kluklux, but not an attempt, even, has been made to arest one.
[US]Dly Phoenix (Columbia, SC) 9 July 4/4: Savannah boasts the champion chicken-lifter of the age. He was arrested last week with sixty-eight chickens — eighteen pairs in a bag and sixteen pairs on a string.
[US]Stark Co. Democrat (Canton, OH) 10 Jan. 8/2: Dar’s a warm place jess beyant heah fer de manigers ob de Freedman bank an’ chicken-lifters ginrully.
T. Stevens Around the World on a Bicycle 150: Unregenerate chicken-lifter though he doubtless be, would scarce condescend to touch his tattered tile even to the Emperor of Austria.
[US]Brenham Wkly Banner (TX) 20 Mar. 5/3: Mr Schuerenberg was eight chickens short [...] The thief or thieves were uinusually bold, and added to their crime of chicken-lifting an attempted burglary.
[US]Ade Pink Marsh (1963) 132: Who was ’at cullud rascal ’at tried to make me out chick-lifteh?
[US]Chariton Courier (Keytesville, MO) 9 May 5/3: .
D. Belasco Girl of the Golden West 323: The Sheriff of Manzaneta County [...] raised his steely grey eyes inquisitorially to Nick’s who, with a hostile stare at the Australian, emitted: ‘Chicken lifter!’.
[US]Corpus Christi Caller (TX) 3 Oct. 6/3: Chicken-Lifters [...] Last night the thief or thieves carried off the quartette of hens.
chicken-lips (n.)

(US black) a white person.

[US]Ebonics Primer at [Internet] chicken lips Definition: a Caucasian. Derogatory. Example: Hey chicken lips, what you doin drivin yo raggedy ass Pinto on my block?
chicken money (n.) [var. on chickenfeed n.]

(US) spending money, small change.

[US]G.D. Chase ‘Navy Sl.’ in DN IV: ii 150: chicken money, n. The pay of an enlisted man when retired.
chicken nabob (n.) [SE chicken, diminutive + nabob, one who has returned from India with great wealth, ult. f. Urdu nawab, deputy governor]

a merchant who has returned from India with a moderate rather than a magnificent fortune.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Chicken Nabob. One returned from the East India Company’s service with but a moderate Fortune of fifty or sixty thousand Pounds.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd edn, 3rd edn) n.p.: Chicken Nabob. One returned from the East Indies with but a moderate fortune of fifty or sixty thousand pounds, a diminutive nabob: a term borrowed from the chicken turtle.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
chicken-neck (v.) [the similar action of the fowl]

(US) to move one’s head rapidly from side to side.

[US]T. Dorsey Florida Roadkill 191: The two began to chicken-neck as they passed the Lantana exit.
chicken-plucking (adj.)

see separate entry.

chicken-preacher (n.) (also chicken-season preacher) [abbr. chicken-eating preacher: see chicken-eater ]

(US) an unprofessional, part-time lay preacher.

[US]Anaconda Standard (MT) 28 Apr. 10/3: he would not spoil his hands by mixing with that ‘chicken preacher’.
[US]C. Himes Crazy Kill 20: If you want to put up with this chicken-season preacher’s lying, you can.
[US]C. Himes Run Man Run (1969) 97: He was a chicken-season preacher [...] He only preached when the chickens were fat.
[US] (con. 1890s–1940s) C. Major Juba to Jive 90: Chicken preacher.
chicken scratch(ing)

see separate entries.


see separate entries.

chicken-spanking (n.)

(US) sexual intercourse with a chicken.

[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 253: Feathers had been snatched red-handed in the act of chicken spanking.
chicken swoop (n.)

(US Und.) the act of stealing a vulnerable person’s bag or purse.

[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 15: chicken swoop A purse snatch. A grand theft person, usually of an elderly lady, by a teenaged thug / ‘Devon been doin’ the chicken swoops over on 21st street’.
chicken thief (n.)

1. (Aus., also chicken snatcher) a petty thief.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Sept. 17/1: A wealthy resident left the handsome manager the surrounding estate and a fortune for the use of deadbeats, paupers, swaggies and sundowners of every description. He bequeathed his possessions to the unwashed, the dosser, the loafer, the sleeper-out and the chicken-snatcher.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]L. Dills CB Slanguage 23: Chicken Snatcher: thief.

2. a derog. form of address, sometimes used affectionately.

[US]S. Lewis Arrowsmith 455: Why, you old son of a gun! Why, you damn’ old chicken-thief!
[UK]N. Nye Breed of the Chaparral (1949) 33: Called you a thief in Ricke Quentin’s last night. A low-down, sneakin’, yellow-bellied chicken thief!
[US]J. Charyn Marilyn The Wild (2003) 30: Who’s a chicken thief?
chicken tracks (n.)

(US) illegible handwriting; also attrib.

Fremont Wkly Jrnl (OH) 16 Nov. 3/2: Mr Editor Please publish this That is if you can read those chicken tracks.
Lawrence Dly Jrnl (KS) 20 May 1/1: A stranger, who happened to see some of the aforesaid prairie chicken tracks upon the unprinted manuscript, innocently inquired if the writer was one of the sufferers in the recent railroad accident.
[US]Salt Lake Herald (UT) 19 Nov. 4/3: The horny-fisted old chicken tracks of farmer Jones when placed at the business end of a cheque.
[US]F.W. Benteen in Benteen-Goldin Letters 11 Jan. (1991) 238: Sorry for troubling you to read so much chicken tracks.
[US]McCook Trib. (NE) 31 Aug. 6/4: He will [...] set down figures in a book whe his fingers may be so cold that the figures he makes look like chicken tracks.
[US]Commoner (Lincoln, NE) 1 June 27/3: The fun of correcting typographical errors and reading writing that looks like chicken tracks.
[UK]Hall & Niles One Man’s War 14: There were several letters in his pocket, written in sprawly, chicken-track handwriting.
[US]H. Boyle Associated Press 12 Sept. n.p.: The teacher had us all try to write the first letters of the alphabet [...] when she saw mine she said [...] ‘I’d better put you in the chicken tracks row’ [W&F].
[US] in DARE.
[US]M. Julien Rooster Cogburn 85: I will rub out your chicken tracks and work them over [HDAS].
chicken walk (n.)

(UK prison) an exercise yard.

[UK]J. Greenwood Wilds of London (1881) 43: There is a sort of round-house, divided into sections, with partitions too high to be overlooked, and up and down this ‘chicken-walk,’ as it is called, this class of prisoner tramps his alotted time in company of two warders.

In phrases

gone chicken (n.) (also gone chick, gone chuck) [gone adj.1 (2) ]

(US) a doomed person, a ‘lost soul’.

[Ire] ‘Larry’s Stiff’ Luke Caffrey’s Gost 6: Poor Larry was now a gone chuck.
[US]W.G. Simms Guy Rivers I 198: Yes – I thought myself a gone chick under that spur, George.
[US]J.C. Neal Charcoal Sketches (1865) 158: Strike out, or you’re gone chickens! them as can’t swim must tread water.
[US]Columbia Democrat (Bloomsburg, PA) 6 Sept. 1/5: ‘I only took nine swallers of whiskey , and [...] I’m a gone chicken!’.
[US]Sat. Eve. Post 11 Sept. 19/1: If they pick up your tracks you’re a gone chicken [DA].
where the chicken got the axe

in the neck.

[Can]Vancouver Dly World (BC) 13 July 5/3: [advert] If you place yourself at the mercy of an inexperienced barber the chances are 10 to 1 that he will give it to you where the chicken got the axe — in the neck.
El Paso Herald-Post (TX) 6 Jan. n.p.: The street car drivers constantly got it where the chicken got the axe [...] following a wet snowstorm that made snow-balling ideal.
Arlington Heights Herald (IL) 15 May n.p.: The Elgin Cubs got it where the chicken got the axe from the Bartlett 9 last Sunday.
[UK]D. Lowrie My Life in Prison 242: They just hang him from the neck down, and to get the right drop they have to know just how many feet and inches he is from his tootsie-wootsies to the place where the chicken got the axe.
[UK]T. Burke Limehouse Nights 31: Battling slouched out of the ring, still more determined to let the Chink have it where the chicken had the axe.
Minneapolis Star (MN) 31 Oct. 14/1: Mr Mellon’s scheme got it where the chicken got the axe, and even Mr Coolidge’s veto [...] could save the day for it.
Dly Capital News (Jefferson City, MO) 2 June 4/1: The editor [...] calls upon Gov. Stark to sharpen up his cleaver and see that the Revision Commission bill gets it where the chicken got the axe.
[Can]Ottawa Jrnl 7 July 8/7: [from Manchester Guardian] They would not hearken to advice, or bend rebellious backs, / So now they duly get it where the chicken got the axe.
Times-Herald (Olean, NY) 30 Oct. 12/1: The farmer, as well as the taxpayer and the consumer, was getting it where the chicken got the axe.
Angola Herald (IN) 30 Sept. 1/1: Organized labor and the Farming fratermnities [...] are getting it where the chicken got the axe.
Bennington Banner (VT) 5 Aug. 4/6: When commercial activities come into conflict with the public interest, the public interest usually gets it where the chicken got the axe.
[US]Burlington Free Press (VT) 17 May 10/6: Ford wants to run for President in ’76, but I think he will get it where the chicken got the axe. No farmers will vote for him.
[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 10 May 11/1: A promise that militant unionists will ‘get it where the chicken got the axe’.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 4 Aug. 158/5: In the end the consumption tax got it where the chicken got the axe.