Waving a dead chicken (over it)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Waving a dead chicken (over it) is an informal phrase used to describe a known (or suspected) useless procedure to remedy any software and/or hardware issue.[1] This may or may not imply that an actual remedy exists, and if so, that that remedy had been attempted beforehand. The procedure may be a last ditch effort to resolve a situation, and/or possibly simply to satisfy those who refuse to accept defeat.[2]

The term may be derived from the Jewish traditional custom of Kapparot, in which a live chicken is swung over one's head as a symbol of atonement for sins: even assuming arguendo that using a live chicken would be effective, it would be agreed that using a dead chicken would not.

For the story of Diogenes waving a dead chicken see Diogenes#In Athens (last paragraph).


  1. Rouse, Margaret. “Waving a Dead Chicken.” January 2006, WhatIs.com, whatis.techtarget.com, Copyright © 1999-2014 TechTarget, web publications, 10 November 2014, < http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/waving-a-dead-chicken>.
  2. FOLDOC – Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org), n.d., “Wave a dead chicken.” The Free Dictionary by Farflex, Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc, web publications, <http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/wave+a+dead+chicken>

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