• chivy
  • audio pronunciation
  • \CHIV-ee\
  • DEFINITION

verb

1
: to tease or annoy with persistent petty attacks
2
: to move or obtain by small maneuvers
  • EXAMPLES

She watched her little brother as he chivied an olive from the jar with his fingers.

"After chivvying a batch [of whirligig beetles] into a food storage box, Lemann, manager of animal and visitor programs [at the Audubon Insectarium], sniffed his fingers. The beetles emit a chemical to deter predators, but they're no stink bugs: 'It smells like sour apple candy. I love it.'" — Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press State and Local Wire, October 8, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Chivy," which is also spelled "chivvy," became established in our language in the early 20th century and at first meant "to harass or chase." Early usage examples are of people chivying a chicken around to catch it and of a person chivying around food that is frying. The word itself is from the British noun of the same spelling meaning "chase" or "hunt." The noun is believed to be derived from "Chevy Chase"—a term for "chase" or "confusion" that is taken from the name of a ballad describing the 1388 battle of Otterburn between the Scottish and English. (A "chase" in this context is an unenclosed tract of land in England that is used as a game preserve.)

Test Your Memory: What former Word of the Day begins with "g" and can mean "an entire range or series"? The answer is …

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