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A chicken may symbolize something in need of shelter and protection, as in Jesus's lament for Jerusalem (see hen), and Macduff's grief for his children in Shakespeare's Macbeth (see at one fell swoop). It is also a type of timidity (see chicken-hearted and play chicken below).

The word is recorded from Old English (in form cīcen, cȳen), and is of Germanic origin, probably related to cock.

chicken-and-egg denoting a situation in which each of two things appears to be necessary to the other. Either it is impossible to say which came first or it appears that neither could ever exist.

chicken feed a ridiculously small amount of money.

chicken-hearted timorous and cowardly (chicken-livered is also used).

Chicken Little a name for an alarmist, a person who panics at the first sign of a problem; from the name of a character in a nursery story who repeatedly warns that the sky is falling down.

play chicken take part in a game of physical hazard in which the first person to lose their nerve and withdraw from a dangerous situation is the loser.

why did the chicken cross the road? a traditional puzzle question, to which the answer is, to get to the other side; recorded from the mid 19th century.

See also curses, like chickens, come home to roost at curse, don't count your chickens before they are hatched at count2, May chickens come cheeping.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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