This satisfyingly consonant-laden word has been in my vocabulary for years—it refers to a fowl prepared by splitting and grilling—and it was a surprise to me, when I was asked where it came from, not to find it in my Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate. Alan Davidson’s wonderful Penguin Companion to Food (which I wrote about here) shed some light, calling it a culinary term “met in cookery books of the 18th and 19th centuries, and revived towards the end of the 20th century”; apparently M-W has not caught up with the revival yet. The OED used to approve of Grose‘s delightful etymology: “abbreviation of a dispatch cock, an Irish dish upon any sudden occasion. It is a hen just killed from the roost, or yard, and immediately skinned, split, and broiled.” But The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (1996), disappointingly, rejects this for “of unkn. orig.; cf. spitchcock (XVI) eel cut into short pieces, dressed, and cooked,” and the American Heritage concurs: “Perhaps alteration of spitchcock, a way of cooking an eel.” Spoilsports!