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chew

[choo]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to crush or grind with the teeth; masticate.
  2. to crush, damage, injure, etc., as if by chewing (often followed by up): The faulty paper feeder chewed the letters up.
  3. to make by or as if by chewing: The puppy chewed a hole in my slipper.
  4. to meditate on; consider deliberately (often followed by over): He chewed the problem over in his mind.
verb (used without object)
  1. to perform the act of crushing or grinding with the teeth.
  2. Informal. to chew tobacco.
  3. to meditate.
noun
  1. an act or instance of chewing.
  2. something chewed or intended for chewing: a chew of tobacco; taffy chews.
Verb Phrases
  1. chew out, Slang. to scold harshly: The sergeant chewed out the recruits.
Idioms
  1. chew the fat, Informal. to converse at length in a relaxed manner; chat: They liked to sit around chewing the fat.Also chew the rag.

Origin of chew

before 1000; Middle English chewen, Old English cēowan; cognate with Old High German kiuwan (German kauen)
Related formschew·er, nounun·chewed, adjectivewell-chewed, adjective
Can be confusedchews choose
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for chew the fat

chew

verb
  1. to work the jaws and teeth in order to grind (food); masticate
  2. to bite repeatedlyshe chewed her nails anxiously
  3. (intr) to use chewing tobacco
  4. chew the fat or chew the rag slang
    1. to argue over a point
    2. to talk idly; gossip
noun
  1. the act of chewing
  2. something that is cheweda chew of tobacco
Derived Formschewable, adjectivechewer, noun

Word Origin

Old English ceowan; related to Old High German kiuwan, Dutch kauwen, Latin gingīva a gum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for chew the fat

chew

v.

Old English ceowan "to bite, gnaw, chew," from West Germanic *keuwwan (cf. Middle Low German keuwen, Dutch kauwen, Old High German kiuwan, German kauen), from PIE root *gyeu- "to chew" (cf. Old Church Slavonic živo "to chew," Lithuanian žiaunos "jaws," Persian javidan "to chew").

Figurative sense of "to think over" is from late 14c.; to chew the rag "discusss some matter" is from 1885, apparently originally British army slang. Related: Chewed; chewing. To chew (someone) out (1948) probably is military slang from World War II. Chewing gum is by 1843, American English, originally hardened secretions of the spruce tree.

chew

n.

c.1200, "an act of chewing," from chew (v.). Meaning "wad of tobacco chewed at one time" is from 1725; as a kind of chewy candy, by 1906.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with chew the fat

chew the fat

Also, chew the rag. Chat in a friendly, leisurely way, as in Let's get together for coffee and chew the fat, or John and Dave spend hours just chewing the rag. Before the 1880s in Britain, chew the fat meant “to grumble or complain,” and chew the rag also has been used in this way. Today both expressions are largely synonyms for a friendly talk or gossip session. Why this idiom uses fat and rag is not known, but some speculate that fat refers to juicy items of gossip and rag to ladies' sewing circles and the cloth they worked on while chatting.

In addition to the idioms beginning with chew

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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