chafe

1 of 2

verb

chafed; chafing

transitive verb

1
: irritate, vex
The noise of the children playing chafed her.
2
: to warm by rubbing especially with the hands
3
a
: to rub so as to wear away : abrade
the strap chafed his skin
The boat chafed its sides against the dock.
b
: to make sore by or as if by rubbing
The tight collar chafed his neck.

intransitive verb

1
: to feel irritation, discontent, or impatience : fret
chafes at the rules
2
: to rub and thereby cause wear or irritation
The baby's skin chafes if the strap is too tight.

chafe

2 of 2

noun

1
: a state of vexation : rage
the cardinal in a state of chafe sent for himWilliam Camden
2
: injury or wear caused by friction
Gloves provide protection against chafe.
also : friction, rubbing

Examples of chafe in a Sentence

Verb When the strap is too tight, it chafes the baby's skin. If my boots aren't laced up tight they chafe. The baby's skin will chafe if the strap is too tight.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
During police brutality protests, Black Lives Matter activists chafed at the ADL’s sponsorship of U.S. police training programs in Israel. Clyde McGrady, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 China and Russia already chafe at U.S. advantages in intelligence collection, regularly harassing American surveillance flights and even approaching and aiming lasers at U.S. intelligence satellites. David Zikusoka, Foreign Affairs, 2 Feb. 2024 Don't worry about uncomfortable seams — the ones on these briefs have a flatlock design that won’t chafe. Barbara Bellesi Zito, Travel + Leisure, 24 Jan. 2024 Some companies shipping goods on the crucial trade lane are starting to chafe at the rising prices and extra fees that ocean carriers are imposing for the higher cost of routing containerships on longer voyages around the Horn of Africa following drone and missile attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Paul Berger, WSJ, 10 Jan. 2024 Donning an apron, former Dancing with the Stars contestant Umansky filmed a selfie in the kitchen of their sprawling Encino, California, home while Richards seemed to light fuel under chafing dishes. Stephanie Wenger, Peoplemag, 27 Nov. 2023 Most executives are chafing at the slow pace of change, though. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 19 Jan. 2024 Those flies would have pestered surgeons already chafing under a heavy workload. Michael Washburn, National Review, 31 Dec. 2023 Many of them chafed at Twitch’s original approach to ads, which the company reworked after criticism. Cecilia D'anastasio, Fortune, 10 Jan. 2024
Noun
In his final year in office, López Obrador — an avid historian who frequently talks about his legacy — chafes at his tenure being portrayed as one of the bloodiest since the Mexican Revolution more than 100 years ago. Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 However, some may find that the toe box is too wide and that the tongue chafes the skin. Sarah Kester, Travel + Leisure, 30 Jan. 2024 The ultra-wide leg style almost looks like a maxi dress but with the comfort and ease of movement that pant legs offer (plus, no inner thigh chafe!). Nicola Fumo, Peoplemag, 1 Aug. 2023 Sarah chafes at the restrictions of her conservative Riyadh household, especially as enforced by her father (Khalid Bin Shaddad). Dennis Harvey, Variety, 7 Dec. 2023 Still, Yanai’s rallying cry chafes with Japanese executives who owe their careers to steadily climbing the corporate ladder. Time, 13 Nov. 2023 The barrel swivel acts as a stopper for the sinker slide, and the bead serves as chafe protection, so the sinker slide never butts up against the knot connecting the barrel swivel. Joe Cermele, Field & Stream, 26 Oct. 2023 But the seven-episode series finds the operation struggling, as its longtime leader and mastermind, Al Snow, chafes against interference and financial pressures from the new owners, which include local radio personality Matt Jones. Brian Lowry, CNN, 12 Sep. 2023 The hype around Ikea is counter to San Francisco’s mom-and-pop culture, which often chafes at any big corporate chains opening up shop. Trisha Thadani, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chafe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

Middle English chaufen to warm, from Anglo-French chaufer, from Vulgar Latin *calfare, alteration of Latin calefacere, from calēre to be warm + facere to make — more at lee, do

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of chafe was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near chafe

Cite this Entry

“Chafe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chafe. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

chafe

verb
ˈchāf
chafed; chafing
1
b
: to feel irritation, dissatisfaction, or impatience : fret
2
: to warm by rubbing
3
: to rub so as to wear away or make sore

Medical Definition

chafe

1 of 2 transitive verb
chafed; chafing
: to irritate or make sore by or as if by rubbing

chafe

2 of 2 noun
: injury caused by friction

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