• synonyms


[ sham-ee; French sha-mwah ]
/ ˈʃæm i; French ʃaˈmwɑ /

noun, plural cham·ois, cham·oix [sham-eez; French sha-mwah] /ˈʃæm iz; French ʃaˈmwɑ/.

verb (used with object), cham·oised [sham-eed] /ˈʃæm id/, cham·ois·ing [sham-ee-ing] /ˈʃæm i ɪŋ/.

to dress (a pelt) with oil in order to produce a chamois.
to rub or buff with a chamois.


leather, cloth, skin, antelope, shammy, chammy

Nearby words

chaminade, chaminade, cécile louise stéphanie, chamiso, chamiza, chammy, chamois, chamoising, chamoix, chamomile, chamonix, chamorro
Also chammy, shammy, shamoy (for defs 2–4, 6, 7).

Origin of chamois

1525–35; < Middle French < Late Latin camox, presumably of pre-Latin orig.; cf. gems Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for chamoix


/ (ˈʃæmɪ, French ʃamwa) /

noun plural -ois

(ˈʃæmwɑː) a sure-footed goat antelope, Rupicapra rupicapra, inhabiting mountains of Europe and SW Asia, having vertical horns with backward-pointing tips
a soft suede leather formerly made from the hide of this animal, now obtained from the skins of sheep and goats
Also called: chamois leather, shammy, shammy leather, chammy, chammy leather (ˈʃæmɪ) a piece of such leather or similar material used for polishing, etc
  1. a yellow to greyish-yellow colour
  2. (as modifier)a chamois stamp

verb (tr)

to dress (leather or skin) like chamois
to polish with a chamois

Word Origin for chamois

C16: from Old French, from Late Latin camox of uncertain origin
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 chamoix



1550s, "Alpine antelope;" 1570s, "soft leather," originally "skin of the chamois," from Middle French chamois "Alpine antelope" (14c.), from Late Latin camox (genitive camocis), perhaps from a pre-Latin Alpine language that also produced Italian camoscio, Spanish camuza, Old High German gamiza, German Gemse (though some of these might be from Latin camox). As a verb, "to polish with chamois," from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper