[ chou ]
/ tʃaʊ /


food, especially hearty dishes or a meal.

Verb Phrases

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.

Nearby words

  1. chough,
  2. choukoutien,
  3. chouse,
  4. choux,
  5. choux pastry,
  6. chow chow,
  7. chow down,
  8. chow mein,
  9. chow-chow,
  10. chowder

Origin of chow

1855–60, Americanism; short for chow-chow Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for chow down

chow down

verb (intr, adverb foll by on)

informal to eat heartily


/ (tʃaʊ) /


informal food
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 down



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with chow down

chow down

Eat, as in He's always ready to chow down at dinner time. Originally military slang, this term is now more widely used. The noun chow in the sense of food, originating from either Chinese or pidgin English in the 18th century, also appears in such terms as chow line, a line of people waiting for food, and chow time, mealtime. [Slang; mid-1900s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.