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  1. food, especially hearty dishes or a meal.
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Verb Phrases
  1. chow down, to eat; eat a meal, especially the main meal of the day: In the army we usually chow down at 6 p.m.
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Origin of chow1

1855–60, Americanism; short for chow-chow


noun (often initial capital letter)
  1. chow chow.
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Origin of chow2

short form


[chou; Chinese joh]
  1. Chou.
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noun Australian Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. a contemptuous term used to refer to a Chinese person.
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Origin of Chow2

First recorded in 1870–75; special use of chow1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for chow


  1. informal food
  2. short for chow-chow (def. 1)
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See also chow down
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 chow


"food," 1856, American English (originally in California), from Chinese pidgin English chow-chow (1795) "food," reduplication of Chinese cha or tsa "mixed." The dog breed of the same name is from 1886, of unknown origin, but some suggest a link to the Chinese tendency to see dogs as edible.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper