WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
chick•en /ˈtʃɪkən/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. Animal Husbandry, Birds a domesticated bird developed in a number of breeds for its flesh, eggs, and feathers:[countable]A hen is a female chicken.
  2. Food[uncountable] the flesh of the chicken used as food.
  3. Slang Terms Slang. a cowardly or fearful person:[countable]Come on, don't be such a chicken.
  4. [uncountable] a contest that may result in very serious, sometimes fatal consequences if one of the participants makes an error or does not yield.

adj. [be + ~]
  1. Informal. cowardly;
    frightened:He won't do it; he's chicken.

  1. chicken out,[no object] to withdraw from or back out of a promise, esp. because of fear.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
chick•en  (chikən),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Animal Husbandrya domestic fowl, Gallus domesticus, descended from various jungle fowl of southeastern Asia and developed in a number of breeds for its flesh, eggs, and feathers.
  2. Animal Husbandrythe young of this bird, esp. when less than a year old.
  3. Foodthe flesh of the chicken, esp. of the young bird, used as food.
  4. Informal Termsa young or inexperienced person, esp. a young girl.
  5. Slang Terms
    • a cowardly or fearful person.
    • petty details or tasks.
    • unnecessary discipline or regulations.
    • a young male homosexual, esp. one sought as a sexual partner by older men.
  6. a contest in which two cars approach each other at high speed down the center of a road, the object being to force one's opponent to veer away first.
  7. a policy or strategy of challenging an opponent to risk a clash or yield:diplomats playing chicken at the conference table.
  8. Idiomscount one's chickens before they are hatched, to rely on a benefit that is still uncertain:They were already spending in anticipation of their inheritance, counting their chickens before they were hatched.

  1. Food(of food) containing, made from, or having the flavor of chicken:chicken salad; chicken soup.
  2. Slang Terms
    • cowardly.
    • petty or trivial:a chicken regulation.
    • obsessed with petty details, regulations, etc.:He's quitting this chicken outfit to become his own boss.

  1. chicken out, [Slang.]
    • to refrain from doing something because of fear or cowardice:I chickened out when I saw how deep the water was.
    • to renege or withdraw:You can't chicken out of this business deal now.
  • bef. 950; 1605–15 for def. 5a; 1940–45 for def. 7; Middle English chiken, Old English cīcen; akin to Middle Dutch kieken (Dutch kuiken), Low German küken

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

chicken out vb
  1. (intr, adverb) informal to fail to do something through fear or lack of conviction

'chicken out' also found in these entries:
Collocations: chickened out at the [sight, thought, sound] of, chickened out at the last [second, minute, moment], chickened out of the [fight, competition, performance], more...

Forum discussions with the word(s) "chicken out" in the title:

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