Origin of chow-chow

Borrowed into English from Chinese Pidgin English around 1785–95

chow chow

[chou chou]
noun (often initial capital letters)
  1. one of a Chinese breed of medium-sized dogs having a thick black, blue, red, or cream coat and a blue-black tongue.
Also chow.

Origin of chow chow

1785–95; said to be < dialectal Chinese; compare Guangdong dial. gáu dog Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chow-chow

Historical Examples of chow-chow

British Dictionary definitions for chow-chow


  1. a thick-coated breed of the spitz type of dog with a curled tail and a characteristic blue-black tongue; it came originally from ChinaOften shortened to: chow
  2. a Chinese preserve of ginger, orange peel, etc in syrup
  3. a mixed vegetable pickle

Word Origin for chow-chow

C19: from pidgin English, probably based on Mandarin Chinese cha miscellaneous
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