noun (1)
\ ˈchaf How to pronounce chaff (audio) \

Definition of chaff

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the seed coverings and other debris separated from the seed in threshing grain
2 : something comparatively worthless a few kernels of wisdom amid much discursive chaff— Steven Raichlen
3 : the scales borne on the receptacle among the florets in the heads of many composite plants
4 : material (such as strips of foil or clusters of fine wires) ejected into the air for reflecting radar waves (as for confusing an enemy's radar detection) planes equipped with chaff dispensers


noun (2)

Definition of chaff (Entry 2 of 3)

: light jesting talk : banter


chaffed; chaffing; chaffs

Definition of chaff (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to tease good-naturedly

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from chaff

Noun (1)

chaffy \ ˈcha-​fē How to pronounce chaffy (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for chaff

Synonyms: Verb

jive, joke, josh, kid, rally, razz, rib, ride, roast, tease

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of chaff in a Sentence


chaffed her about the brightly colored shirt she had received as a gift a coworker who likes to chaff at others' expense, and this often results in hurt feelings

First Known Use of chaff

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1821, in the meaning defined above


1827, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for chaff

Noun (1)

Middle English chaf, from Old English ceaf; akin to Old High German cheva husk

Noun (2)

probably from chaff entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chaff

Statistics for chaff

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chaff

The first known use of chaff was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chaff


\ ˈchaf How to pronounce chaff (audio) \

Kids Definition of chaff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the husks of grains and grasses separated from the seed in threshing
2 : something worthless


chaffed; chaffing

Kids Definition of chaff (Entry 2 of 2)

: to tease in a friendly way

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on chaff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chaff

Spanish Central: Translation of chaff

Nglish: Translation of chaff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chaff for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about chaff

Comments on chaff

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



Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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