These two words are yet another example of homophones—that is, words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Let’s begin with a definition, and then follow it up with an example.
a bird of any kind; a cock or hen of the domestic chicken
“I’m tired of feeding the chickens,” Taran said. “I’m Assistant Pig Keeper, not Assistant Fowl Keeper!”
Really straightforward, right? Now let’s look at “foul,” which can have quite a few meanings:
1. offensive to the senses
The mess the shapeshifter left behind was foul, and Sam could barely suppress his gag reflex.
2. full of dirt or mud
After all the recent rain, Dean’s precious Impala was fouled with residue from the messy roads.
3. morally or spiritually odious
Though some people found the idea of salting and burning someone’s bones foul, the Winchesters knew it was necessary to ensure an angry spirit’s peaceful rest.
4. obscene or abusive
“Geez, Dean, watch your language!” Sam said. “No one wants to hear your foul mouth.”
5. being wet and stormy
As usual when the Winchesters were out and about, the weather was foul: cold, foggy, and wet.
6. constituting an infringement of rules in a game or sport
“Foul!” Dean said as Sam made a move.
“Dean, this is chess, not basketball. There are no fouls.”
“Stupid game anyway,” Dean muttered.
I know all those definitions might look overwhelming, but if you keep track of the difference between the spellings, you’re set. Remember, an owl is a fowl!