[ cheyf ]
See synonyms for: chafechafedchafing on

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.

  1. to irritate; annoy: The dripping of the faucet chafed her nerves.

  2. to warm by rubbing: to chafe cold hands.

  3. 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.

  1. to be irritated or annoyed: He chafed at their constant interruptions.

  1. irritation; annoyance.

  2. heat, wear, or soreness caused by rubbing.

Idioms about chafe

  1. 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

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”

Other words for chafe

Other words from chafe

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

Words that may be confused with chafe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use chafe in a sentence

  • On these occasions he was sterner than usual with Eudora, who chafed under the firm rein held upon her, and longed to be free.

    The Cromptons | Mary J. Holmes
  • They chafed his hands, and continued bathing his temples, keeping his head up, till he gave signs of returning animation.

    Digby Heathcote | W.H.G. Kingston
  • She learned to imitate Charley, in curbing his impetuosity; and he chafed less at her soft touch upon the rein.

    Alone | Marion Harland
  • In these channels the waters have chafed, ground, abraded, eroded for centuries which man cannot number.

    Overland | John William De Forest
  • I chafed secretly against this life of tranquil appreciations more and more.

    The New Machiavelli | Herbert George Wells

British Dictionary definitions for chafe


/ (tʃeɪf) /

  1. to make or become sore or worn by rubbing

  2. (tr) to warm (the hands, etc) by rubbing

  1. to irritate or be irritated or impatient: he was chafed because he was not allowed out

  2. (intr; often foll by on, against, etc) to cause friction; rub

  3. chafe at the bit See champ 1 (def. 3)

  1. a soreness or irritation caused by friction

Origin of 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