Is there a specific word for cutting up a chicken into parts? Like how "field dressing" means to remove organs from game, is there a term for cutting a chicken into its respective parts?

  • 4
    Cut up is the normal way to say it, as you did. One can order a chicken whole or cut-up. Aug 4, 2020 at 0:02
  • 3
    Doesn't "butchering" cover that? It doesn't only mean slaughtering.
    – nnnnnn
    Aug 4, 2020 at 1:03
  • I've never heard butcher, the noun or the verb, applied to the killing of poultry. Mammals only, apparently. Aug 4, 2020 at 1:48
  • @nnnnnn I've never heard the term butcher used for chicken or fish so I wasn' sure if that was accurate.
    – Shelby. S
    Aug 4, 2020 at 7:35

4 Answers 4


In the UK at least you can "joint" a chicken. British TV chef and cookery book writer Delia Smith gives full instructions here but other online sources also use the term. Whether it's used in the US I don't know but as John Lawler suggests "cut up" in his comment I suspect not.

You can also spatchcock or butterfly a chicken but this merely removes some of the bones and lays the bird flat for faster cooking, it doesn't cut it into pieces.


Butchering an animal does not imply that it is alive. You can butcher a dead animal. In fact that is a normal use of "butcher", being what a butcher (noun) does.

  • I'd agree with you in the modern sense but originally butchers were usually their own slaughtermen: they started with live animals, killed them, skinned them and then cut up the carcasses. The separate slaughterhouse or abattoir with employees who do only the killing and initial preparation is a comparatively modern development. Hence you get expressions like "The infantrymen on both sides were butchered by the first world war machine guns" to indicate mass killing but not deliberated dismemberment.
    – BoldBen
    Aug 5, 2020 at 9:04
  • 1
    Of course "butcher" is used in that sense, but it's also used in the sense of cutting up a dead animal. That's my point. Aug 5, 2020 at 14:37

A verb for cutting up a chicken is to fabricate. My son is in culinary arts and this is what I just learned today from him. I googled "fabricate a chicken" & "chicken fabrication". Never knew it had anything to do with cutting up chicken. HOW TO: FABRICATE CHICKEN

  • Hi Lainey, welcome to ELU! 'Fabricate' is an English word - what exactly is the French word? And does it mean "cutting a dead chicken into parts"? I fear the rest of your answer is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand.
    – Joachim
    Jan 7, 2022 at 22:42
  • No idea, just today my son learned during the French cuisine section of his culinary arts class to section a whole dead chicken into parts. How well he did was the test and the instructor called it fabricate a chicken. Literally every other word he used in our conversation today was some French word I had to Google. I too thought he got the word mixed up because fabricate is an English word. Maybe we stole the word from the French.
    – Lainey
    Jan 7, 2022 at 22:52
  • There are enough English references to "fabricating a chicken" to confirm the OP's view that to fabricate a chicken is to reduce it to its parts for cooking. It appears to be American English only.
    – Greybeard
    Jan 8, 2022 at 0:11

So far mentioned: Butching, jointing, cutting up/cut up. Let me add "Break down."

See it used here: https://www.seriouseats.com/better-cook-buy-whole-chickens-cut-up-pieces

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