verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
Origin of chew
- to argue over a point
- to talk idly; gossip
Word Origin for chew
Old English ceowan "to bite, gnaw, chew," from West Germanic *keuwwan (cf. Middle Low German keuwen, Dutch kauwen, Old High German kiuwan, German kauen), from PIE root *gyeu- "to chew" (cf. Old Church Slavonic živo "to chew," Lithuanian žiaunos "jaws," Persian javidan "to chew").
Figurative sense of "to think over" is from late 14c.; to chew the rag "discusss some matter" is from 1885, apparently originally British army slang. Related: Chewed; chewing. To chew (someone) out (1948) probably is military slang from World War II. Chewing gum is by 1843, American English, originally hardened secretions of the spruce tree.
c.1200, "an act of chewing," from chew (v.). Meaning "wad of tobacco chewed at one time" is from 1725; as a kind of chewy candy, by 1906.
Scold harshly, as in Dad will chew you out for taking the car without permission. Originating in the military, this slangy term began to be used during World War I and soon spread to civilian life. Several vulgar versions, such as chew someone's ass out, should be avoided in polite speech. Also see eat out, def. 2.
In addition to the idioms beginning with chew
- chew out
- chew the cud
- chew the fat
- bite off more than one can chew