Words from Dic(tionary)
Afoul: (adv.) into conflict or difficulty with. e.g. she ran afoul of her boss.
I think I would be upset if I were a chicken.
I know the word isn’t spelled the same–but normally if the word “foul” is used without a football field nearby, one gets the image of a “clucker.”
But as I think about it, other animals suffer from us humans characterizing them in a negative light. Because even though your local hen has to live under the subjugation of the term “afoul,” the cow has to cringe every time we say we have “a beef” with someone. Not to mention when we scream at an adversary, “That’s bull!”
Likewise, if someone is acting shady or dishonest, we refer to him or her as a “weasel.” Or if they’ve succeeded in weaseling us and pulling the wool over our eyes (there’s another one!) we say they’ve “out-foxed us.”
The pig becomes the symbol for obesity by being “a porker.”
And men are often referred to as “dogs” in a very derogatory sense–even though we believe the creature to be a best friend.
But I think the chicken suffers the most with “afoul,” don’t you?
So not to become some sort of PETA zealot, I do feel empathy for my fellow-earth-creatures who are unable to speak for themselves and express their displeasure over our characterizations.
After all, we also insult amphibians sitting on their lily pads by referring to our death as “croaking.”