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 formsnon·chaf·ing, adjectiveo·ver·chafe, verb, o·ver·chafed, o·ver·chaf·ing.un·chafed, adjective
Can be confusedchafe chaff

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

Examples from the Web for chafed

Contemporary Examples of chafed

Historical Examples of chafed

  • While Almamen chafed in vain at his arrest, all in the Christian camp was yet still.

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • But to-day he was fretted and chafed by long waiting for that answer to his letter.

  • De Launay raised his head and chafed his blue and frozen hands.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • Every day he had been away he had fretted and chafed at the thought of what might be happening to her.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • It chafed me consider'ble to think there was a foreign streak in our family.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for chafed



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

Word Origin and History for chafed



early 14c., chaufen, c.1300, "be provoked;" late 14c. in literal sense "to make warm, to heat," also intransitive, "to grow warm or hot," especially (early 15c.) "to warm by rubbing," from Old French chaufer "heat, warm up, become warm" (12c., Modern French chauffer), from Vulgar Latin *calefare, from Latin calefacere "to make hot, make warm," from calere "be warm" (see calorie) + facere "to make, do" (see factitious).

Figurative sense from late 14c. include now-obsolete "kindle (joy), inspire, make passionate" as well as "provoke, vex, anger." Sense of "make sore by rubbing" first recorded 1520s. Related: Chafed; chafing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chafed in Medicine




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.