[ cheyf ]
/ tʃeɪf /

verb (used with object), chafed, chaf·ing.

verb (used without object), chafed, chaf·ing.


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


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

Origin of chafe

1275–1325; Middle English chaufen to heat, rub, chafe < Middle French chaufer < Vulgar Latin *calfāre, variant of Latin cal(e)facere, equivalent to cale- (stem of calēre to be hot) + facere to make

Related forms

non·chaf·ing, adjectiveo·ver·chafe, verb, o·ver·chafed, o·ver·chaf·ing.un·chafed, adjective

Can be confused

chafe chaff Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chafe

British Dictionary definitions for chafe


/ (tʃeɪf) /


to make or become sore or worn by rubbing
(tr) to warm (the hands, etc) by rubbing
to irritate or be irritated or impatienthe was chafed because he was not allowed out
(intr; often foll by on, against, etc) to cause friction; rub
chafe at the bit See champ 1 (def. 3)


a soreness or irritation caused by friction

Word Origin for chafe

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

Medicine definitions for chafe


[ chāf ]


To cause irritation of the skin by friction.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.