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

The target: a piece of wet chamois leather meant to simulate human skin. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Secret History of Plasma Weapons," 14 Nov. 2018 Known for his game dishes including ibex and chamois, Violier was an avid hunter. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, ""World's Best Chef" Found Dead After Apparent Suicide," 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, "A little rain gives Special Olympics USA Games’ opening ceremony a Pacific Northwest feel," 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, "Explore Catalonia’s Most Beautiful Nature Parks," 15 June 2018 In fall 2016, their first shipment of clothes arrived four months late—the chamois had the elastic waist sewn inside out and all the shorts were one size too large. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, "Wild Rye Is Making Our Favorite Women's MTB Apparel," 17 May 2018 Within minutes her hand prints were everywhere, and Andrew envisioned himself trailing her with a chamois cloth and returning things to their primal polish. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Fungus," 4 June 2017 Every room is decorated with hunting trophies, from elk, mountain lion, various deer, chamois, lynx and wolves. Andy Benoit,, "From Small-Town Idaho to the NFL Draft, Leighton Vander Esch Ready to Take the League by Storm," 24 Apr. 2018 The chamois is the padded segment of bike shorts, which helps to cushion a cyclist’s sensitive parts. Christine Ro, The Atlantic, "How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women," 15 Apr. 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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chamois cloth



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The first known use of chamois was in 1560

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on chamois

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chamois

Spanish Central: Translation of chamois

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

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