A girl on a bicycle is chased and swooped relentlessly by an egg-deploying chicken in ‘one fowl swoop’.

There are many expressions that people get wrong. Myself included. Sometimes their origins are obscure or unknown. One example of such a phrase is ‘One Fell Swoop’. One of the earliest occurrences of it in literature was in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

I won’t go into a detailed explanation here because I’d just be repeating existing explanations on a gazillion other websites, one of which is https://stancarey.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/explaining-fell-in-one-fell-swoop/

In a nutshell, it seems that while the ‘swoop’ part has origins in poultry, the ‘fell’ reference doesn’t and originally meant ‘villain’ or ‘traitor’ which is where the English word ‘felon’ most likely comes from.

Big Chicken NestWhen I was younger, I used to think it was indeed ‘One Fowl (or perhaps Foul) Swoop’, and I would imagine an angry magpie or similar bird swooping down to attack passers by in an effort to protect its nearby young. By the way, it’s almost Spring here (Australia) so the magpies will soon be out in force in attack mode. They seem to prefer swooping bike riders for some reason. I used to get attacked almost daily in Spring, while riding my bike to the bus stop each morning (and also when returning home in the afternoon).

For the purpose of this cartoon, I went with a chicken, because that would be more absurd. While I have never been swooped by chooks, I’ve been chased and attacked multitudes of times by malevolent roosters over the years.