‘Foul’ and ‘fowl’

Here’s a faintly seasonal mix-up with an accompanying adorable picture.


  • offensive, obscene or vulgar; unpleasant
  • foul smelling or dirty; full of dirt or offensive matter
  • evil, wicked or immoral
  • bad tempered, cross or irritable
  • unfair or dishonorable; against the rules of a sport
  • to make dirty or polluted; to spoil or damage
  • to come into conflict with (‘fall foul of’)


  • a domesticated bird such as a chicken
  • a bird raised or kept for food, or hunted as game
  • the meat of fowl
  • a bird; a collective term for birds

Ducklings are fowl and not foul. (Although, like all baby things, they are full of offensive matter that will go everywhere. And it stains. So I think that illustrates foul/fowl is a matter of perspective.)


8 thoughts on “‘Foul’ and ‘fowl’

  1. One can have a foul fowl. The fowl can become foul by fouling himself by falling into a foul trash heap. If it was on purpose, this fowl would be a foul smelling and foul intended little fowl.

    Liked by 2 people

      • It actually came up while I was having dinner with my wife at a local restaurant. She had ordered chicken that was proving difficult to get off the bone with knife and fork, so I jokingly suggested she just worry the bone with her teeth. She’d never heard that definition of the word, and I immediately thought, “There’s one for Hannah!” 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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