View synonyms for chafe


[ cheyf ]

verb (used with object)

, chafed, chaf·ing.
  1. to wear or abrade by rubbing:

    He chafed his shoes on the rocks.

  2. to make sore by rubbing:

    Her collar chafed her neck.

  3. to irritate; annoy:

    The dripping of the faucet chafed her nerves.

    Synonyms: provoke, trouble, vex, exasperate

  4. to warm by rubbing:

    to chafe cold hands.

  5. Obsolete. to heat; make warm.

verb (used without object)

, chafed, chaf·ing.
  1. to become worn or sore from rubbing:

    His neck began to chafe from the starched collar.

  2. to rub; press with friction:

    The horse chafed against his stall.

  3. to be irritated or annoyed:

    He chafed at their constant interruptions.


  1. irritation; annoyance.
  2. heat, wear, or soreness caused by rubbing.


/ tʃeɪf /


  1. to make or become sore or worn by rubbing
  2. tr to warm (the hands, etc) by rubbing
  3. to irritate or be irritated or impatient

    he was chafed because he was not allowed out

  4. intr; often foll by on, against, etc to cause friction; rub
  5. chafe at the bit
    See champ 1


  1. a soreness or irritation caused by friction

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Other Words From

  • non·chafing adjective
  • over·chafe verb overchafed overchafing
  • un·chafed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of chafe1

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English chaufen “to heat, rub,” from Middle French chaufer, from Vulgar Latin calfāre (unrecorded), variant of Latin cal(e)facere, from cale-, stem of calēre “to be hot” + facere “to do, make”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of chafe1

C14: from Old French chaufer to warm, ultimately from Latin calefacere, from calēre to be warm + facere to make

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. chafe at the bit, to become impatient at delay:

    The work was going very slowly, and he began to chafe at the bit.

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Example Sentences

Which is a reason why so many of these designers chafe at the term “unisex” or “postgender.”

Some people may simply find ways to sever their awkward ties that chafe.

But it does chafe to be arrested by language cops when you are in fact driving in the right lane.

I miss the strife His shrunken staff, his hungry wife Inflame chafe!

“Clinton was even more bizarre, because of his lack of discipline,” Chafe said.

He hurried to the Hotel d'Ettres; but the scenes of careless gaiety he saw there, seemed only to chafe his mind.

Turner being in a great chafe, about being disappointed of a room to stand in at the Coronacion.

There was a pitcher of water handy, and I sprinkled her face and began to chafe her cold hands.

Planks, secured to the rail by lines, were then run down to bear the chafe.

It is surely better to submit cheerfully to a hard lot, than to chafe and fret one's life away at what can not be helped.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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