\ 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.



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

Synonyms for chafe

Synonyms: Verb

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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 Long spandex shorts are great for runners who tend to chafe or just want extra protection. Ariella Gintzler, Outside Online, 27 May 2022 Ray Hughes, Runner’s World, 1973 NOW: Let’s all take a moment to be grateful for moisture-wicking technical tees that do not chafe. Susan Lacke, Outside Online, 11 Oct. 2019 Many messenger bags feature straps that start to chafe and irritate your shoulder area. Rebecca Carhart, Travel + Leisure, 4 Apr. 2022 But Brooks has hardly been the only Trump acolyte to lately chafe at the leash. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 25 Mar. 2022 More recently, the performer who had such exquisite control over his own instrument seemed to chafe at any other restrictions, griping about vaccine mandates and mask requirements. Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2022 The cable has a sawtooth design with ribbing that helps stop annoying microphonic when the cables chafe. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 Many Kazakhs also chafe at the dominance of the ruling party, which holds more than 80% of the seats in parliament. Dasha Litvinova, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Jan. 2022 Many Kazakhs also chafe at the dominance of the ruling party, which holds more than 80% of the seats in parliament. Jim Heintz, ajc, 5 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Simply rub in the cream to any areas that may rub and glide through the world chafe-free. ELLE, 18 June 2022 Other musts: chafe-free seams, zero wedgies, and comfortable fabrics. Lauren Joseph, SELF, 4 Apr. 2022 The chamois is equal to any top-level insert and has kept me comfy and chafe-free for rides as long as 10 hours. Outside Online, 15 Aug. 2014 Anyway, to get back to the subject, the definitions for chafe are broad and grumpy: to irritate and vex, to abrade, to rub so as to wear away, to make sore, to feel irritation, discontent or impatience. Bernadette Kinlaw, Arkansas Online, 31 May 2021 Plus, these shorts are available in sizes XXS to 3X. With a five-inch inseam, these classic running shorts provide plenty of coverage and chafe-free wear. Travel + Leisure, 7 May 2021 Judges who are supposed to be neutral chafe at having to elicit testimony. Arkansas Online, 24 Apr. 2021 Setting aside the attachment to childhood and to the suburbs in which the Butlers’ own childhoods took place, this song has Chassagne chafe at and ultimately reject the strictures of suburban life. Jack Butler, National Review, 18 Aug. 2020 Its highly breathable mesh fabric upper keeps feet cool, dry, and chafe-free, while the ComforDry sockliner provides cushion and drainage. Janna Irons, Popular Mechanics, 26 Mar. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of chafe


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


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

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Time Traveler for chafe

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

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Dictionary Entries Near chafe



chafe iron

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Statistics for chafe

Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Chafe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for chafe


\ 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.


transitive verb
\ 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



Medical Definition of chafe (Entry 2 of 2)

: injury caused by friction

More from Merriam-Webster on chafe

Nglish: Translation of chafe for Spanish Speakers


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