a short, dull, explosive sound: the steady chug of an engine.

verb (used without object), chugged, chug·ging.

to make this sound: The motor chugged.
to move while making this sound: The train chugged along.

Origin of chug

An Americanism dating back to 1865–70; imitative
Related formschug·ger, noun



verb (used with object), chugged, chug·ging.

verb (used without object), chugged, chug·ging.

to drink something in large gulps: to chug on a bottle of beer.


a large gulp or swallow: He finished his beer in two chugs.

Origin of chug

imitative Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for chugged

down, chug-a-lug

Examples from the Web for chugged

Contemporary Examples of chugged

  • As they chugged toward the aid station, they passed by the bodies of the two dead insurgents Larson had killed.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Ty Carter Awarded Medal of Honor

    David Eisler, Jake Tapper

    August 31, 2013

  • He looked around at the packed, distressed cement floors and frontier-style wooden booths as we chugged our last drink.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Restaurants Get You Drunk

    George Prochnik

    April 17, 2010

Historical Examples of chugged

  • On chugged the motor boat, and soon it was alongside the sailboat.

  • The Gem chugged her way up "Alligator Brook," as the girls had named it.

  • Three times they flashed the message, then hurried back to the boat and chugged out, anchoring140 in midstream.

    Tom Slade at Temple Camp

    Percy K. Fitzhugh

  • He giggled to himself and chugged his coffee, crouched down below the window.


    Cory Doctorow

  • Thus many a time when it chugged out of his barn so proudly, it came limping back behind a span of mules.

    In the Heart of a Fool

    William Allen White

British Dictionary definitions for chugged



a short dull sound, esp one that is rapidly repeated, such as that made by an engine

verb chugs, chugging or chugged

(intr) (of an engine, etc) to operate while making such sounds

Word Origin for chug

C19: of imitative origin
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 chugged



1866, echoic of a working steam engine. As a verb, from 1884. Related: Chugged; chugging. Drinking sense attested by 1940s (chug-a-lug), probably imitative of the sound of swallowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper