Definition of chew in English:

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Pronunciation: /CHo͞o/


[with object]
1Bite and work (food) in the mouth with the teeth, especially to make it easier to swallow: he was chewing a mouthful of toast [no object]: he chewed for a moment, then swallowed
More example sentences
  • Baby teeth are important because children need healthy teeth to chew food and to speak.
  • People who chew food with their mouths open should be beaten to death with plates.
  • Carefully it placed a piece in its mouth, chewed, swallowed, and bared its teeth at them.
munch, chomp, champ, crunch, nibble, gnaw, eat, consume
1.1Gnaw at (something) persistently, typically as a result of worry or anxiety: he chewed his lip reflectively [no object]: she chewed at a fingernail
More example sentences
  • Ryan brought the pen he was holding to his lip to chew the pen lid, mulling the answer to a question on his revision over.
  • Her eyes moved about in worry and she began to chew her bottom lip nervously.
  • He chews tobacco though, which probably doesn't play so well with soccer moms.


1A repeated biting or gnawing of something.
Example sentences
  • In fact I can't go half a mile on the car without a chew.
  • Through the gap, I turned to see a seal having a gentle chew.
  • Robin spat through chews, ‘It's mighty tasty.’
1.1Something other than food that is meant for chewing: a dog chew a chew of tobacco
More example sentences
  • She was smacking loudly on a chew of gum as she went to give her son a bear hug and a kiss.
  • Besides feasting on goodies such as sausages, dog biscuits and chews, the guests will play games, such as tug the lead, chase the ball and musical dogs.
  • He does get the regular assortment of dog treats: greenies, rawhide chews, dog biscuits, etc.



chew the cud

see cud.

chew the fat (or rag)

informal Chat in a leisurely way, especially at length.
Example sentences
  • Oh yeah, the record itself is pretty much a narrative with its own theory, and obviously I love chewing the fat about it.
  • But personally, I think the line has been crossed when they pull up a bar stool next to you and start chewing the fat.
  • He comes across as your next-door neighbour chewing the fat with you, hoping that things will improve with time.

Phrasal verbs


chew someone out

North American informal Reprimand someone severely: he chewed me out for being late
More example sentences
  • I was just livid all day long at the way they chewed me out.
  • Yeah, I know I'm totally beautiful and could do better - my mother already called me and chewed me out.
  • On two separate occasions, people had come up to him in the airport while he was wearing his uniform and just chewed him out about the war.

chew something over

Discuss or consider something at length: executives met to chew over the company’s future
More example sentences
  • You have the opportunity to read and re-read many times, to chew it over, consider the message, roll it around in your mind, get an impression of what was truly meant.
  • The others began to join in the discussion, chewing ideas over.
  • As the nation's daily newspaper, we are the forum in which all sides of these big issues are chewed over.
meditate on, ruminate on, think about/over/through, mull over, consider, ponder on, deliberate on, reflect on, muse on, dwell on, give thought to, turn over in one's mind;
brood over, puzzle over, rack one's brains about
informal kick around, bat around
formal cogitate about

chew something up

Chew food until it is soft or in small pieces.
Example sentences
  • This development allowed the animal to breathe at the same time as retaining food in its mouth for longer periods, chewing it up into small pieces for quicker digestion.
  • Our school's meals aren't usually as bad as on TV where they're just brownish slop, but near Christmas and Thanksgiving, I do believe I would rather chew my own food up and mix it together myself.
  • Sitting next to him at dinner once, I saw him put a large piece of thick salmon skin into his mouth, and chew it up and swallow it.
3.1Damage or destroy something as if by chewing: the bikes were chewing up the paths
More example sentences
  • It's where your personality is chewed up and spat out and re-presented to you, so the trajectory of you as an individual is taken out of your hands.
  • And, as anticipated, the red squirrel population began to decline almost immediately, since its preferred habitat had been chewed up and spat out.
  • Even the most amazing things are chewed up and spat out the next week.



Pronunciation: /ˈCHo͞oəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Many teachers complained to the civic chief that even children of lower classes were consumers of chewable tobacco that comes in sachets.
  • The beef has been sufficiently stewed to soften its collagen, making it delectably chewable.
  • But real meat, a thick chewable steak or hunk of baby sheep, has never done it for me.


[usually in combination]: a tobacco-chewer
More example sentences
  • This also provides a healthy alternative to tobacco chewers.
  • Others reckoned that shops should be made to display notices advising Britain's gum chewers of their responsibilities.
  • With smokers and tobacco chewers becoming more desperate, the value of tobacco has exploded.


Old English cēowan; related to Dutch kauwen and German kauen.

Words that rhyme with chew

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For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: chew

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