\ ˈchü How to pronounce chew (audio) \
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 upchewing 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 \ ˈchü-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce chewable (audio) \ adjective
chewer noun
chewy \ ˈchü-​ē How to pronounce chewy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of chew in a Sentence

Verb 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 After college and a few years of being chewed up by the garment industry, a series of life events forced me to stop and reimagine my entire career. Rebecca Schoneveld, New York Times, "What My Wedding Dress Means to Me," 16 Apr. 2020 It's got oodles of RAM and more than enough CPU horsepower to chew through these storage tests without breaking a sweat. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Understanding RAID: How performance scales from one disk to eight," 16 Apr. 2020 In a 2014 study, scientists Heidi Appel and Rex Cocroft of the University of Missouri found that tiny mustard plants responded to the sound vibrations of a caterpillar chewing through their leaves. Los Angeles Times, "Your plants want you to sing to them. Science says so," 28 Feb. 2020 Ask if these rodents have been scampering across their roof, gnawing on the woodwork, and chewing through their wiring (squirrels love the rubber coating on wiring, by the way). Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Homeowners go nuts over squirrels," 18 Jan. 2020 The Browns went 6-10 and looked disorganized and unprepared from start to finish, and Kitchens was one-and-done, another embarrassment for owners who have chewed through head coaches and GMs and whose franchise has become a poster for instability. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Browns stuck to their process in choosing Kevin Stefanski as new head coach," 12 Jan. 2020 There isn’t that type of franchise store anywhere within the county, and that uniqueness is only going to grow as these things, the cookie cutters, just keep on chewing their way through the rest of the nation. John Carlisle,, "Dollar store wants to infiltrate popular Up North vacation spot — and town fights back," 2 Dec. 2019 Persic said the walnuts did not cause any extensive damage, though a squirrel may have chewed through or pulled out the fuel injector hose on his new truck. Fox News, "Pennsylvania squirrels hide more than 200 walnuts under SUV hood: See the photo," 9 Oct. 2019 After earthquakes, as hurricanes blow and drench, when wildfires chew through neighborhoods and volcanoes spew deadly lava, look for a gregarious chef toting huge and mighty paella pans. San Diego Union-Tribune, "When disaster strikes, Chef Jose Andres is on the ground," 27 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Plush chew toys come in all shapes, from a wine bottle to a TV dinner. oregonlive, "10 ways to calm people and pets during a pandemic: Oregon-made SmileyHugs comfort," 12 May 2020 Simone has peanut chews! 3pm: Sleeve of oatmeal raisin cookies. Genevieve Angelson,, "In Quarantine, Confronting The Eating Disorder That Almost Killed Me," 4 May 2020 This chew toy that dogs love Dogs might be man's best friend but everyone knows that chew toys and bones are dog's best friends. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "The 15 most popular pet products you can get at Petco," 4 May 2020 That Doesn’t Fall Apart in Boiling Water Taste Republic’s Gluten-Free Four Cheese Tortelloni holds together amazingly well, has a luscious chew, and by some magic of its fabrication doesn’t fall apart in the water like other gluten-esque brands. Sunset Magazine, "The 99 Pantry Items We Can’t Live Without, from the Ultimate Olive Oil to Heirloom Turmeric," 25 Feb. 2020 Try distracting your dog with chew toys to keep him occupied instead. Southern Living, "Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?," 17 Apr. 2020 But if your dog frequently uses your Beats as a chew-toy, you're covered. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Is AppleCare+ Really Worth It?," 12 Apr. 2020 While recipes with wheat get their chew and structure from gluten, which is formed when proteins in the flour interact with water, gluten-free flours rely on the starches from alternative grains. Washington Post, "How to use gluten-free flour blends in your everyday baking," 20 Jan. 2020 And then — the roasted chickpeas for chew and substance. Katie Workman, NBC News, "How to make crispy roasted chickpeas in your oven," 22 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for chew

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for chew

Last Updated

12 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for chew


How to pronounce chew (audio)

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 How to pronounce chew (audio) \
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

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