cham·​ois ˈsha-mē How to pronounce chamois (audio)
sense 1 also
sham-ˈwä How to pronounce chamois (audio)
plural chamois also chamoix
sense 1
ˈsha-mē(z) How to pronounce chamois (audio)
sham-ˈwä(z) How to pronounce chamois (audio)
senses 2 & 3
ˈsha-mēz How to pronounce chamois (audio)
: either of two small, agile, goatlike bovids (Rupicapra rupicapra and R. pyrenaica) of mountainous regions from southern Europe to the Caucasus that are often hunted for their meat and hide
or less commonly chammy or shammy : a soft pliant leather prepared from the skin of the chamois or from sheepskin
: a cotton fabric made in imitation of chamois leather

Examples of chamois in a Sentence

a bucket of water and a chamois
Recent Examples on the Web The flora and fauna feature more than 1,700 plant species as well as chamois, boars and deer. David Unsworth, Fox News, 20 Apr. 2024 Some animals — like the chamois, elks, and ibexes — might descend a couple of miles from the mountaintop and spend the colder months at lower altitudes, where the weather is slightly warmer. Sofia Quaglia, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 Most people use a standard chamois by drying one part of their body, wringing it out, then drying another part. Maggie Slepian, Travel + Leisure, 5 Dec. 2023 Ultralight and ultra-absorbent, the swim chamois is used to quickly wick away water, and can be wrung out to near-instant dryness. Maggie Slepian, Travel + Leisure, 5 Dec. 2023 Sitting at a café in New Haven, he is layered in chamois cloth shirts for the cold and wearing a knitted wool hat for the damp. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 4 Dec. 2023 The chamois also incorporates aloe vera into the fabric to soothe skin and prevent odor. Kevin Brouillard, Travel + Leisure, 7 Aug. 2023 Keep Bakelite or anything made of horn away from perfumes and chemicals and polish only with a soft chamois cloth that has not been treated with chemicals. Jura Koncius, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2023 Rinse with clean water applied with a chamois. oregonlive, 10 Oct. 2020

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

Word History


Middle French, from Late Latin camox

First Known Use

1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of chamois was in 1560

Dictionary Entries Near chamois

Cite this Entry

“Chamois.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


cham·​ois ˈsham-ē How to pronounce chamois (audio)
plural chamois also chamoix ˈsham-ē(z) How to pronounce chamois (audio)
: a small goatlike mountain antelope of Europe and the Caucasus
: a soft yellowish leather made from the skin of the chamois or from sheepskin

More from Merriam-Webster on chamois

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