chafe

verb
\ ˈchāf How to pronounce chafe (audio) \
chafed; chafing

Definition of chafe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : irritate, vex The noise of the children playing chafed her.
2 : to warm by rubbing especially with the hands
3a : 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

noun

Definition of chafe (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for chafe

Synonyms: Verb

abrade, excoriate, fret, gall, irritate

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Don’t step on our toes: Higher-ups in the Iowa Democratic Party are chafing somewhat about the Democratic National Committee’s move to pare down the number of presidential candidates, The Gazette’s James Lynch writes. cleveland.com, "UAW, GM resume talks amid nationwide auto worker strike: The Flyover," 17 Sep. 2019 Scott’s case will end up costing the state about the same amount, and that really chafes the Grand Junction Republican. Anna Staver, The Denver Post, "Colorado state senator settles lawsuit over blocking people on social media," 30 Aug. 2019 And Lingg said his client contends that state investigators erred in concluding that the fire was caused by a tree branch that chafed on an uninsulated power line. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Washington firefighter badly burned in 2015 Twisp River fire now fighting law that won’t let him collect damages," 19 Aug. 2019 In addition, his wing was badly damaged from the string chafing the inside of it. Cori Brown, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Cori Brown: Will we learn before it’s too late?," 27 July 2019 The ruling dealt a huge setback to CBS Chairman and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, who has been chafing under Redstone's control and her determination to merge CBS with the weaker Viacom Inc., which owns MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Meg James, latimes.com, "Judge rules in favor of Redstone family in fight over control of CBS," 17 May 2018 There have been hints of internal tensions in recent months as commanders have publicly chafed under General Hifter’s rule or criticized one another. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Libyan Strongman’s Illness Stokes Fears of a Succession Feud," 19 Apr. 2018 The defense secretary, who has warned publicly about the risks posed by a military confrontation with North Korea, chafed against White House requests for aggressive military proposals against Pyongyang, according to U.S. officials. Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ, "Trump Bowed to Pentagon Restraint on Syria Strikes," 16 Apr. 2018 Democrats chafed at the FTC’s decision at the time not to hold specific executives responsible for the company’s abuses. Washington Post, "Google to pay $170 million to settle charges it violated kids’ privacy law on YouTube," 6 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That was the work of high school teachers; the job at the college level was simply to separate the wheat from the chafe. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "America’s top colleges are not the engines of social mobility they say they are," 13 Sep. 2019 But thankfully, there's a way to sort this scientific wheat from the chafe. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Why This New 16-Bit Carbon Nanotube Processor Is Such a Big Deal," 28 Aug. 2019 Stabilizing straps are also important—there isn’t a particular strap design or material that’s the absolute best, but secure construction and chafe-free material are two guidelines to buy by. Glamour, "The Absolute Most Comfortable Sandals, According to People Who Know," 23 Aug. 2019 Life for the gallery residents is timeless and pleasant, for the most part, though some do chafe under Lord Beaverbrook’s strict rules. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Meeting the People in the Paintings," 5 July 2018 Get ahead of the rub by wearing these $12 anti-chafe bands. Mona Gohara, Good Housekeeping, "How to Prevent and Treat That Annoying Rash Between Your Thighs," 6 July 2018 Some veterans of the Trump White House say the president chafes under the sort of hierarchical structure that Mr. Kelly sought to create, preferring to consult with friends and associates on his own timetable. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "Trump Consults on Successors for Chief of Staff John Kelly," 28 June 2018 The smooth, chafe-free waistband sat tidily beneath the hipbelt of my pack. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Shorts for Women," 31 May 2018 He's insisted on stiffer penalties and chafes when players deny knowingly taking PEDs in the face of positive tests. Scott Boeck, USA TODAY, "Justin Verlander anticipated a PED denial from Robinson Cano - who did not disappoint," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chafe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of chafe

Verb

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

Noun

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chafe

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chafe

Statistics for chafe

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chafe

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chafe

chafe

verb

English Language Learners Definition of chafe

: to become irritated or annoyed : to feel impatient
: to cause soreness or damage by rubbing against something (such as your skin)
: to become sore or damaged from rubbing

chafe

verb
\ ˈchāf How to pronounce chafe (audio) \
chafed; chafing

Kids Definition of chafe

1 : to become irritated or impatient Some of the guests chafed at the sleeping arrangements.
2 : to rub so as to wear away or make sore Chains chafed the skin of the animal's legs.
\ ˈchāf How to pronounce chafe (audio) \
chafed; chafing

Medical Definition of chafe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to irritate or make sore by or as if by rubbing

chafe

noun

Medical Definition of chafe (Entry 2 of 2)

: injury caused by friction

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on chafe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chafe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chafe

Spanish Central: Translation of chafe

Nglish: Translation of chafe for Spanish Speakers

Comments on chafe

What made you want to look up chafe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to fake an opponent out of position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!