Poultry vs. Chicken

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Poultry and Chicken is that the Poultry is a category of domesticated birds and Chicken is a domesticated fowl, primarily a source of food.

  • Poultry

    Poultry () are domesticated birds kept by humans for their eggs, their meat or their feathers. These birds are most typically members of the superorder Galloanserae (fowl), especially the order Galliformes (which includes chickens, quails, and turkeys).

    Poultry also includes other birds that are killed for their meat, such as the young of pigeons (known as squabs) but does not include similar wild birds hunted for sport or food and known as game. The word “poultry” comes from the French/Norman word poule, itself derived from the Latin word pullus, which means small animal.

    The domestication of poultry took place several thousand years ago. This may have originally been as a result of people hatching and rearing young birds from eggs collected from the wild, but later involved keeping the birds permanently in captivity. Domesticated chickens may have been used for cockfighting at first and quail kept for their songs, but soon it was realised how useful it was having a captive-bred source of food.

    Selective breeding for fast growth, egg-laying ability, conformation, plumage and docility took place over the centuries, and modern breeds often look very different from their wild ancestors. Although some birds are still kept in small flocks in extensive systems, most birds available in the market today are reared in intensive commercial enterprises.

    Together with pig meat, poultry is one of the two most widely eaten types of meat globally, with over 70% of the meat supply in 2012 between them; poultry provides nutritionally beneficial food containing high-quality protein accompanied by a low proportion of fat. All poultry meat should be properly handled and sufficiently cooked in order to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

    The word “poultry” comes from the West & English “pultrie”, from Old French pouletrie, from pouletier, poultry dealer, from poulet, pullet. The word “pullet” itself comes from Middle English pulet, from Old French polet, both from Latin pullus, a young fowl, young animal or chicken. The word “fowl” is of Germanic origin (cf. Old English Fugol, German Vogel, Danish Fugl).

  • Chicken

    The chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a type of domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the red junglefowl. It is one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, with a total population of more than 19 billion as of 2011. There are more chickens in the world than any other bird or domesticated fowl. Humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food (consuming both their meat and eggs) and, less commonly, as pets. Originally raised for cockfighting or for special ceremonies, chickens were not kept for food until the Hellenistic period (4th–2nd centuries BC).Genetic studies have pointed to multiple maternal origins in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and South Asia, but with the clade found in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa originating in the Indian subcontinent. From ancient India, the domesticated chicken spread to Lydia in western Asia Minor, and to Greece by the 5th century BC. Fowl had been known in Egypt since the mid-15th century BC, with the “bird that gives birth every day” having come to Egypt from the land between Syria and Shinar, Babylonia, according to the annals of Thutmose III.

  • Poultry (noun)

    Domestic fowl (e.g. chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese) raised for food (either meat or eggs).

  • Poultry (noun)

    The meat from a domestic fowl.

  • Chicken (noun)

    A domestic fowl, Gallus gallus, especially when young.

  • Chicken (noun)

    The meat from this bird eaten as food.

  • Chicken (noun)

    A coward.

  • Chicken (noun)

    A young or inexperienced person.

  • Chicken (noun)

    A young, attractive, slim man, usually having little body hair; compare chickenhawk.

  • Chicken (noun)

    The dare.

  • Chicken (noun)

    A simple dance in which the movements of a chicken are imitated.

  • Chicken (adjective)


    “Why do you refuse to fight? Huh, I guess you’re just too chicken.”

  • Chicken (verb)

    To avoid a situation one is afraid of.

  • Poultry (noun)

    domestic fowl, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese.

  • Poultry (noun)

    the flesh of chickens and other domestic fowl as food

    “I haven’t eaten red meat for 19 years and poultry for 12 years”

    “raw or cooked meat and poultry”

    “anyone handling raw poultry should wash their hands thoroughly”

  • Chicken (noun)

    a domestic fowl kept for its eggs or meat, especially a young one

    “rationing was still in force and most people kept chickens”

  • Chicken (noun)

    meat from a chicken

    “roast chicken”

  • Chicken (noun)

    a game in which the first person to lose their nerve and withdraw from a dangerous situation is the loser

    “he was killed by a car after he lay in the road playing chicken”

  • Chicken (noun)

    a coward.

  • Chicken (adjective)


    “I was too chicken to go to court”

  • Chicken (verb)

    withdraw from or fail in something through lack of nerve

    “the referee chickened out of giving a penalty”

Oxford Dictionary

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