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 chugs

down, chug-a-lug

Examples from the Web for chugs

Contemporary Examples of chugs

Historical Examples of chugs

  • What fun it must be to have a boat of your own that chugs about those entertaining seas!

    Dear Enemy

    Jean Webster

  • He got three chugs and a backfire into the carburetor, and after that silence.

    Cabin Fever

    B. M. Bower

  • After a number of loud wheezes and chugs the boat started down the river.

    The Motor Boys Afloat

    Clarence Young

British Dictionary definitions for chugs



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 chugs



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