I‘m writing here because I‘m a bit confused. I thought that all of the following:

  • das Hühnchen
  • das Hähnchen
  • das Huhn
  • die Hühner

are valid translations for "the chicken" but duo seems to accept only some chosen ones.

So, the question is: which are correct, which are not?

January 2, 2018


das Huhn is singular, die Hühner is plural. Hähnchen is fried chicken and Hühnchen can refer either to a young chicken or roast chicken. In addition, "mit jemand ein Hühnchen zu rupfen haben" means to have a bone to pick with someone or an axe to grind.

In the context of a meal in German you can use "Hühnchen", "Hähnchen" or "Huhn" as well. Because you normaly only eat one of it (or parts of it) the plural is barely used in that context.

Though "Hähnchen" comes from "Hahn" (male) and "Hühnchen" comes from "Huhn" (female) the people really don't care about the gender of the bird and say always either "Hähnchen" or "Hühnchen".

And about the use of "Hühnchen"/"Hähnchen" or "Huhn"?

Well, I remind the sketch "Dinner for one". Miss Sophie says first "Serve the chicken" to her butler and when getting served "That looks a very fine bird." So there is maybe a bit more emphasis in the last phrase, but no big difference.

das Hühnchen

das Hähnchen

das Huhn

is for the daily use the same and it´s singular.

Die Hühner is the plural form.

Also, 'die Hühner' tends to refer to live chickens. There's a German Phrase: "Da lachen ja die Hühner," which means that something is really absurd or ridiculous.

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