Have you ever found yourself running around like a headless chicken? Or been advised not to put all your eggs in one basket? Chicken expressions and sayings have been used for centuries in the English language and continue to be an important part of English today.
In this article, we’ve composed a list of 31 common chicken expressions and sayings to help you be top of the pecking order in your conversations!
31 chicken expressions to crow about
It’s amazing the amount of chicken expressions and sayings there are in the English language. Many of them have their roots in farming and agriculture and such idioms and idiomatic expressions have formed part of the language for centuries.
So, let’s dive in and take a look. Just don’t chicken out half way through!
Meaning: To back out of a plan or activity because of fear or lack of courage.
Example: “I was going to go skydiving, but I chickened out at the last minute.”
Running around like a headless chicken
Meaning: To be very busy and disorganized.
Example: “She’s been running around like a headless chicken trying to get everything ready for the party.”
Counting your chickens before they hatch
Meaning: To assume that something will happen before it actually does, and to rely on it happening.
Example: “I know you’re excited about your new job, but don’t start buying a new car yet. You don’t want to count your chickens before they hatch.”
Note: This is commonly used as “don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched” meaning you shouldn’t be too confident or presumptuous.
Chicken and egg situation
Meaning: A situation where it’s difficult to determine which came first or which caused the other.
Example: “It’s a chicken and egg situation. Did the lack of funding cause the project to fail, or did the failure of the project lead to a lack of funding?”
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Meaning: To not rely on just one thing or option, to diversify.
Example: “I know you’re really excited about this investment opportunity, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your money around a bit.”
Meaning: A hierarchy or ranking system.
Example: “In the classroom, the students have established a pecking order, with the popular kids at the top and the less popular kids at the bottom.”
Ruffle your feathers
Meaning: To make someone feel irritated, annoyed, or upset.
Example: “My friend really ruffled my feathers when she showed up late to our meeting without an apology.”
Meaning: Dishonest or unfair behavior.
Example: “The referee was accused of fowl play when he made that call against our team.”
Meaning: A small amount of money or something that is insignificant.
Example: “The amount of money they offered me to do that job was chicken feed compared to what I usually make.”
Fly the coop
Meaning: To leave or escape from a situation.
Example: “I couldn’t take the constant bickering anymore, so I decided to fly the coop and move out.”
Cock of the walk
Meaning: A person who thinks they are better than everyone else, or who is arrogant and self-important.
Example: “Ever since he got that promotion, he’s been acting like he’s the cock of the walk.”
Madder than a wet hen
Meaning: Someone who is extremely angry, irate, or upset.
Example: “After waiting in line for hours, the customer was told that the store had run out of the item they wanted to buy. The customer was madder than a wet hen and demanded to speak to the manager.”
Meaning: A man who is controlled or dominated by his wife or partner.
Example: “He never makes any decisions without consulting his wife. He’s totally henpecked.”
Crowing about something
Meaning: To boast or brag about something.
Example: “He’s been crowing about his new car all week, even though it’s not that impressive.”
Don’t be a chicken
Meaning: A challenge or encouragement to be brave or take a risk. Example: “Come on, don’t be a chicken. Jump in the pool with us!”
Meaning: Handwriting that is difficult to read or messy.
Example: “I can barely read his notes. His handwriting is nothing but chicken scratch.”
Meaning: A person who is always afraid that something bad is going to happen.
Example: “She’s always worrying about something. She’s like chicken little, thinking the sky is falling.”
Meaning: A person who is cowardly or easily scared.
Example: “He didn’t want to confront his boss about the issue because he’s too chicken-hearted.”
Meaning: A person who is not good or trustworthy, or who is a troublemaker.
Example: “Watch out for him. He’s a bad egg.”
Walking on eggshells
Meaning: To be very careful and cautious because you don’t want to upset someone.
Example: “I feel like I’m walking on eggshells around my boss. I don’t want to say or do anything that might offend him.”
Egg on your face
Meaning: To be embarrassed or humiliated because of something you said or did.
Example: “I thought I had the answer, but I was wrong. I had egg on my face in front of the whole class.”
You have to break eggs to make an omelet
Meaning: Sometimes in order to achieve a desired outcome, it is necessary to make sacrifices or endure hardships along the way.
Example: “I know this business restructuring is hard, but you have to break eggs to make an omelet.”
Who rules the roost
Meaning: To be in charge or have the most authority in a situation.
Example: “In our house, my mom definitely rules the roost.”
As scarce as hen’s teeth
Meaning: Something is extremely rare or virtually non-existent.
Example: “I’ve been looking for a vintage 1950s jukebox for months, but they’re as scarce as hen’s teeth. I just can’t seem to find one anywhere.”
Meaning: A person who is very protective and caring towards others, often in a slightly overbearing way.
Example: “She’s always fussing over us and making sure we’re okay. She’s like a mother hen.”
Meaning: A sum of money that has been saved or invested for the future.
Example: “I’m trying to build up a nest egg for my retirement.”
Hatch an idea
Meaning: To come up with or develop an idea.
Example: “I was sitting in the park, trying to hatch an idea for my next novel.”
No spring chicken
Meaning: To be older or past your prime.
Example: “I might not be a spring chicken anymore, but I still know how to have fun.”
Not what it’s cracked up to be
Meaning: Not as good as it was expected or advertised to be.
Example: “I thought the movie was going to be great, but it turned out to be not what it was cracked up to be.”
Feather your nest
Meaning: To accumulate wealth or resources for personal gain.
Example: “He’s always looking for ways to feather his nest, even if it means stepping on other people to get ahead.”
Strutting your stuff
Meaning: To show off or display your abilities or accomplishments.
Example: “He’s always strutting his stuff and trying to impress everyone with his achievements.”
Chicken expressions: Egg-ceptional?
We hope you enjoyed this list of chicken expressions and sayings. Did you know all of them? Hopefully this list of 31 funny chicken expressions and sayings has brought a smile to your face and perhaps even inspired you to use some of them in your own conversations!
It’s estimated that there are tens of thousands of idiomatic expressions in the English language, why not take a look at these common English idioms to see which other expressions you know.