When you think of calling someone a chicken, do you think of a coward or someone who is too scared?
A chicken is typically known as someone who is too afraid to act, speak, or respond.
Calling a woman a chicken is no different but may indicate a man’s interest or playful ribbing, depending on the circumstances and situation at hand.
In the classical sense, a chicken is, of course, a bird.
However, calling someone chicken typically means that the individual is weak or a coward, afraid to respond, speak up or stand up for themselves.
Another common idiom is “chickening out”, which means to back out or to give up for fear of losing or being embarrassed and ashamed.
There are many expressions involving chickens that range from storytelling to jokes and poking fun at others’ expense.
When someone calls a woman a chicken, they may be testing her ability to stand up for herself and/or defend herself, depending on circumstances.
When a woman is called a chicken, it is implied that she is too much of a coward to do anything about the current situation or predicament she finds herself in.
There can be numerous reasons behind calling a woman a chicken, such as:
- Poking fun: Poking fun by calling a woman a chicken can cause her to feel embarrassed or weak, especially if she is too nervous or anxious to speak up for herself.
- Flirting and ribbing: Calling a woman a chicken as a form of flirting and ribbing from a prospective partner is also not uncommon. Men who have an interest in women but do not want to show their feelings obviously will do so by ribbing or playing jokes on the woman he is interested in.
- Bullying: Calling a woman a chicken is another classic method of bullying, especially from an individual who is unwilling to have a rational discussion. Calling a woman a bully simply to get a rise out of her is not friendly and is extremely demeaning, especially when it is not done in a playful or friendly and ribbing manner.
The phrase “you’re a chicken” or “don’t be a chicken” does not have any gender, racial, or stereotypical attachments to it.
It is not an inherently offensive phrase. However, if used in a derogatory and demeaning manner, the woman may feel harassed, bullied, or belittled when it’s used directly against them.
Using the term chicken has not been known to be offensive, sexist, or degrading throughout history.
In fact, the term chicken is extremely gender-neutral, and can be used playfully or in a derogatory manner towards anyone, regardless of gender, looks, or the individual herself.
While most people may find calling someone a chicken harmless and playful, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has shared numerous stances on the use of animal types and terms to describe negative human traits.
Words such as chicken, pig, and rat were mentioned by PETA in numerous announcements.
Most of the time, calling a woman a chicken has nothing to do with her physical appearance, body, or looks.
In fact, calling anyone a chicken is typically an indication of how someone views their personality, confidence, and ability to be brave.
Calling any individual a chicken does not reflect on their body or physical appearance.
However, there are other phrases that are similar to calling someone a chicken that indicates someone is poking fun at another’s physical appearance and physique.
For instance, the term “chicken legs” can be used to describe someone who has little to no muscle mass on their legs or for those who have extremely long, lanky, and skinny legs.
The term “chicken wings”, is also commonly used to describe the excess fat that hangs from their upper arms, especially as individuals age or become less active and more out of shape.
Calling someone a chicken is a classic saying that is not only used by adults but also by children of all ages.
In America and with the use of North American English, calling a woman a chicken does not have an alternative meaning or a hidden meaning.
However, this is not the same for foreign languages. Calling someone a chicken in Russia may indicate that a person has been sexually assaulted in prison.
If you are being called a chicken in a foreign language, it is best to familiarize yourself with possible meanings and definitions that are relevant to you based on your situation.
Context matters. Calling a woman a chicken repeatedly while harassing her, bullying her, or being physically intimating may be considered assault or intimidation.
However, simply calling a woman a chicken as a joke or even as a way to flirt and rib her is not considered assault, offensive, or even a slur.
Calling someone a chicken is one of the most playful comments you can make that can also be made in a silly or a serious sense.
Being called a chicken may catch you off guard if you have never heard the phrase, if you are not from an area where it is common, or if it was said by someone you work with or someone you may even consider dating.
Not understanding when someone might call a woman a chicken can be extremely confusing.
Some of the scenarios where a woman may be called a chicken by someone else include:
- When playing a game or getting competitive: It is not uncommon to be called a chicken when playing a game or during an intensely competitive game when it is your turn to make a move. Calling someone a chicken can be a fun way to have fun and to rib a friend when doing so in a positive environment and situation.
- When she does not respond: In this case, a woman being called a chicken will likely be called the name in a negative light. Not responding to a man’s catcall or if he asks for your number can lead to negging, also known as a trick to undermine a woman’s confidence by throwing a negative insult her way.
- When joking with friends: If you have a close group of friends, calling each other names is common. Being called a chicken by a friend you love spending time with may be considered a term of endearment.
- When being flirted with and/or courted: If you are in the process of dating or if you are thinking of dating someone, he or she may call you a chicken from time to time to be playful. Calling a prospective partner a chicken can help to set a playful mood while also ribbing the potential partner to get to know their sense of humor. If you love poking fun at one another, calling someone a chicken is a perfect silly and kid-friendly insult.
- When angry or upset: In some cases, you may be called a chicken if someone is upset or angry with you and wants to highlight your cowardice or inability to stand up for yourself.
In most scenarios, calling a woman a chicken is completely harmless. Calling someone a chicken is not considered taboo, a swear word, or even derogatory.
It is a common phrase that is not only used playfully and aggressively by adults, but also by school-aged children alike.
When someone calls you a chicken because you are nervous, they are implying that you have a cowardly personality.
They may also be attempting to indicate that you do not have the ability to move forward and beyond your nervousness because chickens are notoriously skittish, nervous, and anxious creatures.
If you present yourself as nervous and overly anxious, it is much easier for outsiders to pick up on the type of energy you are giving off.
When you appear nervous on the surface, it is much easier for someone who wants to rib you to do so by calling you a chicken.
If someone says you are chickening out, they may be trying to indicate that you are getting scared of, backing off, or backing away from a certain situation in particular.
If someone is chickening out, they may be attempting to get out of a scenario or situation that they previously committed themselves to, but no longer want to participate in.
When you are chickening out, you are backing out of a dare, task, or a challenge for fear of losing, being beaten by someone else, or being embarrassed.
If you have been called a chicken and you are unfamiliar with the phrase and idiom, you may be confused.
After all, what does chicken have to do with you and your personality?
Knowing why you are being called a chicken and having the ability to pick up on social and context clues goes a long way.
If someone has called you a chicken and is laughing while doing so, they are being playful and likely attempting to joke with you or rib you.
If you believe the individual may be interested in you romantically, they may also call you a chicken when you refuse to participate in a dare or in another action and task that has been asked of you.
Flirting while calling a woman a chicken is a way for one to test whether or not the woman is actually interested in him and whether or not she is interested in playful ribbing and jabs.
For some men and women, teasing and name-calling is a love language and is used to help attract and appeal to potential mates.
When someone calls a woman a chicken, it is important to consider the context as well as the situation and surroundings of the individuals involved.
While most often calling a woman a chicken is a playful and flirtatious move, it can also signal that someone is bullying or being passive-aggressive in an uncomfortable situation.
When in doubt, it is best to remove yourself from any situation where name-calling is personal and negatively directed towards you.