• synonyms


[chaf, chahf]
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to mock, tease, or jest in a good-natured way; banter: She chaffed him for working late. They joked and chaffed with each other.
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  1. good-natured ridicule or teasing; raillery.
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Origin of chaff2

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. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for chaffed

Historical Examples

  • He felt that she was chaffing him, and he did not want to be chaffed by her.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • He chaffed Margaret too, and Margaret roused from a grave meditation was pleased and chaffed him back.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • He chaffed his father and even Anne, and left Lydia out, to her own pain.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • I mentioned it at the Club, and when old Charley turned up he was chaffed by the others.

  • In the company of his fellows he was either neglected or chaffed.

    Tales Of Hearsay

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for chaffed


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

Word Origin

Old English ceaf; related to Old High German keva husk


  1. light-hearted teasing or joking; banter
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  1. to tease good-naturedly; banter
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Derived Formschaffer, noun

Word Origin

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 chaffed



"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper