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) or  sham-​ˈwä(z) How to pronounce chamois (audio) , senses 2 & 3  ˈsha-​mēz How to pronounce chamois (audio) \

Definition of chamois

1 : 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
2 or less commonly chammy or shammy \ ˈsha-​mē How to pronounce chamois (audio) \ : a soft pliant leather prepared from the skin of the chamois or from sheepskin
3 : 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 There is also a large chest pocket, articulated cuffs, and built-in chamois to clean sunglass lenses. The Editors, Outdoor Life, 1 June 2020 Unlike soap or dishwasher detergent or the sine qua non spaghetti mop, there is almost nothing a paper towel does that can’t be done equally effectively with a chamois cloth, a strip of cotton, a rubber sponge or an old sock. Joe Queenan, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2020 Like his father, Carrel was a professional hunter of the chamois (the region’s goat-like antelope) and had spent his youth exploring every valley and ridgeline of the region’s rugged terrain, including the flanks of the Matterhorn. Mark Jenkins, National Geographic, 1 Aug. 2019 Larger mammals like deer, chamois (a goat antelope), badgers, boars and foxes would be awesome. Cori Brown,, 10 Nov. 2019 The target: a piece of wet chamois leather meant to simulate human skin. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, 14 Nov. 2018 Known for his game dishes including ibex and chamois, Violier was an avid hunter. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, 2 Feb. 2016 But Jayme Powers, the executive director of the ceremony and chief operating officer of Special Olympics, said there was never a worry — not even as volunteers shouted for more chamoises with time ticking down until the gates opened. Evan Webeck, The Seattle Times, 1 July 2018 Higher up near the alpine regions, black pine yields to sheer granite and slate peaks, and chamois, ptarmigan, stoat and marmots peer curiously at visitors, while griffon vultures and golden eagles soar overhead. Smithsonian, 15 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of chamois

1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chamois

Middle French, from Late Latin camox

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Time Traveler for chamois

Time Traveler

The first known use of chamois was in 1560

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Dictionary Entries Near chamois



chamois cloth

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Cite this Entry

“Chamois.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of chamois

: a small animal that looks like a goat and that lives on mountains in Europe and western Asia
: soft leather that is made from the skin of goats, sheep, or chamois
: a piece of chamois used especially for cleaning windows and cars


cham·​ois | \ ˈsha-mē How to pronounce chamois (audio) \
plural chamois\ -​mē , -​mēz \

Kids Definition of chamois

1 : a goatlike animal of the mountains of Europe and Asia
2 : a soft yellowish leather made from the skin of the chamois or from sheepskin

More from Merriam-Webster on chamois

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chamois

Nglish: Translation of chamois for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about chamois


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