verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
Origin of chew
Related Words for chew the fatchatter, consider, bicker, contest, deliberate, question, wrangle, oppose, answer, prate, cackle, babble, jaw, converse, burble, yap, prattle, blab, gab, commune
- 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.
chew the fat
Also, chew the rag. Chat in a friendly, leisurely way, as in Let's get together for coffee and chew the fat, or John and Dave spend hours just chewing the rag. Before the 1880s in Britain, chew the fat meant “to grumble or complain,” and chew the rag also has been used in this way. Today both expressions are largely synonyms for a friendly talk or gossip session. Why this idiom uses fat and rag is not known, but some speculate that fat refers to juicy items of gossip and rag to ladies' sewing circles and the cloth they worked on while chatting.
In addition to the idioms beginning with chew
- chew out
- chew the cud
- chew the fat
- bite off more than one can chew