\ˈchü \
chewed; chewing; chews

Definition of chew 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to crush, grind, or gnaw (something, such as food) with or as if with the teeth : masticate

2 : to injure, destroy, or consume as if by chewing usually used with up chewing up profits

intransitive verb

: to chew something specifically : to chew tobacco

chew on

: to think about : ponder chewing on the new developments

chew the fat or less commonly chew the rag

: to make friendly familiar conversation : chat



Definition of chew (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of chewing

2 : something for chewing

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Other Words from chew


chewable \-ə-bəl \ adjective
chewer noun
chewy \ˈchü-ē \ adjective

Examples of chew in a Sentence


We were taught to chew our food thoroughly before swallowing. He chews with his mouth open. You're not allowed to chew gum in class. A mouse chewed through the cord. The dog chewed a hole in the rug.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When crews arrived, flames were chewing through the roof as thick smoke billowed from the structure, Lopez said. Hannah Fry,, "Fire crews knock down 3-alarm blaze at Huntington Beach warehouse," 27 June 2018 Beavers chewed at arms that cranked the paddle wheel. Rick Montgomery, kansascity, "Tornado sunk this Kansas cruise boat in 1978, killing 16. Owners hope it floats again.," 22 June 2018 There hasn’t been a breakthrough moment or even much talk internally of where Luck stands physically for the staff to chew on—instead, just a call for patience. Albert Breer,, "For Andrew Luck, It All Re-Starts Here," 18 June 2018 The Pawnee Fire has chewed up 15,000 acres of Lake County land but was 92 percent contained as of Thursday night. Claire Morgan, sacbee, "County Fire grows to 88,000 acres, Cal Fire warns of warm weather to come," 5 July 2018 The flames chewed through about 37 square miles outside Fort Garland. CBS News, "Orphaned bear cub rescued after paws are scorched in Colorado wildfire," 29 June 2018 Plant-eaters like Triceratops and the ankylosaurs, which had to chew their food, also had complex hyoid bones. National Geographic, "Why T. Rex Couldn't Waggle Its Tongue," 20 June 2018 LeBron chews the scenery and spits it out like a T-shirt cannon. Scott Ostler,, "LeBron James scouting report: world-class traveler, actor — with a mean forearm," 13 June 2018 Nor were the insects merely chewing up the plastics and then passing them in their faeces. The Economist, "Another way to recycle plastic," 24 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The meat has a noticeable chew that bothers fried chicken lovers used to more tender bird. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "Here are all the new fried chicken restaurants in Indianapolis," 6 July 2018 Keeping a steady supply of wood chews and Timothy Hay helps the teeth stay at a healthy length, without becoming overgrown. sacbee, "At the SPCA: Cordelia," 27 June 2018 These have bite and bark, the exteriors satisfying to sink the teeth into, the meat the perfect compromise between tenderness and chew. Devra First,, "Why is one of Boston’s best new restaurants in Newton?," 30 Apr. 2018 Go with kids to appreciate the pleasures behind this simple combination of sweetness and chew., "Hat Yai is the Southern star in Portland's Thai food constellation," 6 Apr. 2018 Instead, Bush’s win breathed new life into Walsh, who could be as single-minded as Millie was when biting into her chew toy. Neil Swidey,, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018 There is even a Bush chew toy for dogs whose owners are presumably Democrats, along with stress balls and voodoo dolls from the late '00s when anti-Bush sentiment ran high. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Happy birthday to George W. Bush, the most doll-friendly president," 6 July 2018 For them, joy can be as unremarkable as prancing back to a chew toy in the hand of a beloved trainer after a challenging bust. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "It’s Pooches vs. Poachers in the Fight Against Wildlife Smugglers," 22 June 2018 Need bars, energy chews, pumps, tubes or lights after hours? Melanie D.g. Kaplan,, "Boulder, Colorado, does things its own way," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chew.' 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 chew


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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chew


Middle English, from Old English cēowan; akin to Old High German kiuwan to chew, Russian zhevat'

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Learn More about chew

Dictionary Entries near chew







chewing gum

Statistics for chew

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for chew

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

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More Definitions for chew



English Language Learners Definition of chew

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to use your teeth to cut food into small pieces before you swallow it

: to bite on (something) repeatedly with the teeth

: to make (something, such as a hole) by chewing



English Language Learners Definition of chew (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of chewing something

: something that a person or animal chews


\ˈchü \
chewed; chewing

Kids Definition of chew

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to crush or grind with the teeth chewing food



Kids Definition of chew (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of crushing or grinding with the teeth

2 : something that a person or animal chews a dog's rawhide chew

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More from Merriam-Webster on chew

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chew

Spanish Central: Translation of chew

Nglish: Translation of chew for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chew for Arabic Speakers

Comments on chew

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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