See more synonyms for chew on
verb (used with object)
  1. to crush or grind with the teeth; masticate.
  2. to crush, damage, injure, etc., as if by chewing (often followed by up): The faulty paper feeder chewed the letters up.
  3. to make by or as if by chewing: The puppy chewed a hole in my slipper.
  4. to meditate on; consider deliberately (often followed by over): He chewed the problem over in his mind.
verb (used without object)
  1. to perform the act of crushing or grinding with the teeth.
  2. Informal. to chew tobacco.
  3. to meditate.
  1. an act or instance of chewing.
  2. something chewed or intended for chewing: a chew of tobacco; taffy chews.
Verb Phrases
  1. chew out, Slang. to scold harshly: The sergeant chewed out the recruits.
  1. 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 formschew·er, nounun·chewed, adjectivewell-chewed, adjective
Can be confusedchews choose Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chewed

Contemporary Examples of chewed

Historical Examples of chewed

  • And I was as blue a reporter of life as ever chewed his pencil.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • He chewed the end of a cigar, and continued walking up and down the roof.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • He dipped the onion, bit off a piece, and chewed it gravely.

  • For two days, so Solon vows, they ate the herrin' and the other two they chewed the sticks.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • The Seneschal shrugged his shoulders, and chewed a second at his beard.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for chewed


  1. to work the jaws and teeth in order to grind (food); masticate
  2. to bite repeatedlyshe chewed her nails anxiously
  3. (intr) to use chewing tobacco
  4. chew the fat or chew the rag slang
    1. to argue over a point
    2. to talk idly; gossip
  1. the act of chewing
  2. something that is cheweda chew of tobacco
Derived Formschewable, 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

Word Origin and History for chewed



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with chewed


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.