Idioms

    chew the fat, Informal. to converse at length in a relaxed manner; chat: They liked to sit around chewing the fat.Also chew the rag.

Origin of chew

before 1000; Middle English chewen, Old English cēowan; cognate with Old High German kiuwan (German kauen)

Related forms

chew·er, nounun·chewed, adjectivewell-chewed, adjective

Can be confused

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

British Dictionary definitions for chew the fat

chew

/ (tʃuː) /

verb

to work the jaws and teeth in order to grind (food); masticate
to bite repeatedlyshe chewed her nails anxiously
(intr) to use chewing tobacco
chew the fat or chew the rag slang
  1. to argue over a point
  2. to talk idly; gossip

noun

the act of chewing
something that is cheweda chew of tobacco

Derived Forms

chewable, adjectivechewer, noun

Word Origin for chew

Old English ceowan; related to Old High German kiuwan, Dutch kauwen, Latin gingīva a gum
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

Idioms and Phrases with chew the fat (1 of 2)

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.

Idioms and Phrases with chew the fat (2 of 2)

chew


In addition to the idioms beginning with chew

  • chew out
  • chew the cud
  • chew the fat

also see:

  • bite off more than one can chew
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.