fowl

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Related to fowls: domestic fowl, foals

neither fish, flesh, nor fowl

Neither one thing nor another; not belonging to any suitable class or description; not recognizable or characteristic of any one particular thing. We require a solution that directly deals with the issue at hand, but what the chancellor has put forward is, to my mind, neither fish, flesh nor fowl.
See also: fowl, neither, nor

run foul of (someone or something)

To be in severe disagreement, trouble, or difficulty with someone or something; to be at odds with someone or something, especially due to disobeying rules or laws. Always look into the laws of any place you visit, or you may end up unwittingly running foul of the local police. Ms. Banks has run foul of this university for the last time. She is no longer welcome here!
See also: foul, of, run

be neither fish nor fowl

To be difficult to describe or definitively categorize. What genre of music is this? It's neither fish nor fowl to me.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Neither one thing nor another; not belonging to any suitable class or description; not recognizable or characteristic of any one particular thing. We require a solution that directly deals with the issue at hand, but the proposal that has been put forward is, to my mind, neither fish nor fowl.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Cliché not any recognizable thing. The car that they drove up in was neither fish nor fowl. It must have been made out of spare parts. This proposal is neither fish nor fowl. I can't tell what you're proposing.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Also, neither fish nor flesh; neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. Not one or the other, not something fitting any category under discussion. For example, They felt he was neither fish nor fowl-not qualified to lead the department, yet not appropriate to work as a staff member either . This expression appeared in slightly different form in John Heywood's 1546 proverb collection ("Neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring") and is thought to allude to food for monks ( fish, because they abstained from meat), for the people ( flesh, or meat), and for the poor ( red herring, a very cheap fish).
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

If something or someone is neither fish nor fowl, they are difficult to identify or understand, because they seem partly like one thing and partly like another. Brunel's vessel was neither fish nor fowl: a passenger liner too ugly and dirty to offer much beyond novelty value. In the American sports press, this athlete is neither fish nor fowl, neither American nor entirely foreign. Note: People occasionally replace fish with flesh. She didn't look one of anything to Oatsie, neither flesh nor fowl, neither idiot nor intellectual. Note: `Fowl' is an old-fashioned word for a hen or other bird.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl (nor good red herring)

of indefinite character and difficult to identify or classify.
This expression arose with reference to dietary laws formerly laid down by the Church during periods of fasting or abstinence.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither ˌfish nor ˈfowl

neither one thing nor another: Graduate teaching assistants are neither fish nor fowl, neither completely students nor teachers.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Having no specific characteristics; indefinite.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish, flesh, nor fowl

Not one or the other; not fitting any category. This term dates from the sixteenth century and appeared in John Heywood’s 1546 Proverbs as “She is nother fyshe, nor fleshe, nor good red hearyng [herring].” The analogy refers to food for monks (fish), for the people (meat), and for the poor (red herring). Shakespeare also used the term; when Falstaff insults Mistress Quickly, he says she’s an otter because “She’s neither fish nor flesh; a man knows not where to have her” (Henry IV, Part 1, 3.3).
See also: fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Having no specific characteristics or category, not easily characterized. The phrase, which was originally “neither fish nor flesh nor fowl,” appeared in slightly different form in a 16th-century collection of proverbs as “neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring”: fish for monks who ate no meat, flesh for people who could afford meat, and cheap herring for the poor. The phrase is reminiscent of the old riddle: What is neither fish nor flesh, feathers nor bone/but still has fingers and thumbs of its own? Answer: a glove.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor
References in classic literature ?
I have always heard how cheap poultry is in Italy; I should think a fowl is worth about twelve sous at Rome.
"I said they would skin me," thought Danglars; but resolving to resist the extortion, he said, "Come, how much do I owe you for this fowl?"
You do not know with whom you have to deal!" Peppino made a sign, and the youth hastily removed the fowl. Danglars threw himself upon his goat-skin, and Peppino, reclosing the door, again began eating his pease and bacon.
"And here is your fowl." Danglars sighed while he carved the fowl; it appeared very thin for the price it had cost.
"That little fowl pays you a high compliment!" said a voice behind Phoebe.
"Ah, but these hens," answered the young man,--"these hens of aristocratic lineage would scorn to understand the vulgar language of a barn-yard fowl. I prefer to think--and so would Miss Hepzibah --that they recognize the family tone.
The boys haven't been after your fowls, that's plain."
So, the gridiron was put in requisition, and the good-tempered cherub, who was often as un-cherubically employed in his own family as if he had been in the employment of some of the Old Masters, undertook to grill the fowls. Indeed, except in respect of staring about him (a branch of the public service to which the pictorial cherub is much addicted), this domestic cherub discharged as many odd functions as his prototype; with the difference, say, that he performed with a blacking-brush on the family's boots, instead of performing on enormous wind instruments and double-basses, and that he conducted himself with cheerful alacrity to much useful purpose, instead of foreshortening himself in the air with the vaguest intentions.
Bella helped him with his supplemental cookery, and made him very happy, but put him in mortal terror too by asking him when they sat down at table again, how he supposed they cooked fowls at the Greenwich dinners, and whether he believed they really were such pleasant dinners as people said?
Porthos ate his wing of the fowl timidly, and shuddered when he felt the knee of the procurator's wife under the table, as it came in search of his.
Coquenard had eaten his soup, the black feet of the fowl, and the only mutton bone on which there was the least appearance of meat.
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er She shall press, ah, nevermore!
"It appears to me," said D'Artagnan, biting with all his might at the tough fowl they had served up to him, and which they had evidently forgotten to fatten, -- "it appears that I have done wrong in not seeking service with that master yonder.
He, therefore, although it appeared comparatively even harder, attacked the bed as bravely as he had done the fowl; and, as he had as good an inclination to sleep as he had had to eat, he took scarcely longer time to be snoring harmoniously than he had employed in picking the last bones of the bird.
"You may kill every fowl i' the yard if you like, Bessy; but I shall ask neither aunt nor uncle what I'm to do wi' my own lad," said Mr.