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A COCK, in BrE, is an adult male chicken. It is the Old English word for the male domestic fowl, and it is still common in Britain. Male lobsters are also called cocks.

"The cock's job is to defend the hens and their nests from predators and other cocks."

However, when you use the word 'cock' in the US, you should expect giggles or horrified stares, regardless of context. 

A: "Let me show you the pictures of my prize-winning cock." B: "What?!"

Since 'cock' is slang for male genitalia, it's fallen out of use except when specifically referring to cock fighting.

A: "Your cock woke me up at 3am in the morning!" B: "WHAT?!"

A ROOSTER, as a term for an adult male chicken, originated in the US as a puritan euphemism to avoid the sexual connotation of the original English 'cock'. 

"Here, in the US, it sounds very harsh and vulgar."

In AmE, using 'cock' for a male chicken is as rare as using 'bitch' for a female dog.

"To my American ears, it just sounds wrong to use 'cock' other than as slang, unless you are intentionally looking for a double meaning."

Uncommon but understood in the UK, 'rooster' is widely used throughout North America and originates in ROOSTING — the action of perching aloft to sleep at night. As a verb, it means to sit or to rest. 

"The chickens began to roost for the evening." 

COCK, as a colloquial word for the male genitalia, is as common in BrE as it is in America. Perhaps, it's just that Brits are not too squeamish to use the same word in two meanings.

"We wake up with the first cock here, son."

Contrary to a common belief, 'cock' as a synonym for penis is not an Americanism, as its use for this antedates the Mayflower. 

"Oh man what art thou? When thy cock is up?" [Nathan Field 'Amends for Ladies', 1618]

This meaning is universal across Anglophonia, incl. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

"Gibson routinely said to female colleagues, 'Shut your cock garage.' [The New Yorker, 2019]

A COCKEREL [ˈkɒk(ə)r(ə)l,ˈkɑː.kɚ.əl] is a male chick that is under a year old. If your cute baby chick grows up to crow loudly first thing every morning, he's probably a cockerel.

"The cockerel crows the next morning when it's still dark."

The age at which a cockerel becomes a rooster or cock can be different in different breeds. Sometimes, 'cockerel', 'rooster' or 'cock' can be loosely applied to male chickens of any age. 

"I am awakened by a rooster's/cockerel's shrill cock-a-doodle-doo."

A CAPON [ˈkeɪp(ə)n,ˈkeɪ.pɑːn] is a castrated rooster. Also the tender flesh of such chicken, commonly eaten by sixteenth-century courtiers and twenty-first-century Brooklyn hipsters.


"A blancmange of capon! Mmm... My favourite!"

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