chaff

1
[chaf, chahf]

noun

the husks of grains and grasses that are separated during threshing.
straw cut up for fodder.
worthless matter; refuse.
the membranous, usually dry, brittle bracts of the flowers of certain plants.
Also called window. Military. strips of metal foil dropped by an aircraft to confuse enemy radar by creating false blips.

Nearby words

  1. chaetopod,
  2. chaetotaxy,
  3. chafe,
  4. chafer,
  5. chafeweed,
  6. chaffer,
  7. chaffinch,
  8. chaffy,
  9. chafing dish,
  10. chaga

Origin of chaff

1
before 1000; Middle English chaf, Old English ceaf; cognate with Middle Low German, Dutch kaf

Related formschaff·less, adjectivechaff·like, adjective

chaff

2
[chaf, chahf]

verb (used with or without object)

to mock, tease, or jest in a good-natured way; banter: She chaffed him for working late. They joked and chaffed with each other.

noun

good-natured ridicule or teasing; raillery.

Origin of chaff

2
First recorded in 1640–50; perhaps from chaff1

Related formschaff·ing·ly, adverbun·chaffed, adjectiveun·chaff·ing, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for chaff


British Dictionary definitions for chaff

chaff

1

noun

the mass of husks, etc, separated from the seeds during threshing
finely cut straw and hay used to feed cattle
something of little worth; rubbish (esp in the phrase separate the wheat from the chaff)
the dry membranous bracts enclosing the flowers of certain composite plants
thin strips of metallic foil released into the earth's atmosphere to confuse radar signals and prevent detection
Derived Formschaffy, adjective

Word Origin for chaff

Old English ceaf; related to Old High German keva husk

noun

light-hearted teasing or joking; banter

verb

to tease good-naturedly; banter
Derived Formschaffer, noun

Word Origin for chaff

C19: probably slang variant of chafe, perhaps influenced by chaff 1

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 chaff

chaff

n.

"husks," Old English ceaf "chaff," probably from Proto-Germanic *kaf- "to gnaw, chew" (cf. Middle Dutch and Dutch kaf, German Kaff), from PIE root *gep(h)- "jaw, mouth" (see jowl (n.1)). Used figuratively for "worthless material" from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper