\ 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 But Busch chewed up the entire distance with a dramatic change-of-direction second-down run. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Sophomore Tigers Super Bowl bound after thrilling win in double overtime," 4 Nov. 2019 On the opening drive of the game, the Black Knights chewed up 8 minutes, 34 seconds in making their way to the 1-yard line. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Air Force makes late defensive stand in 17-13 win over Army," 2 Nov. 2019 But my brain is chewing on problems the entire time. Joe Fassler, The Atlantic, "How Solitude Feeds the Brain," 31 Oct. 2019 Driving studded tires on bare asphalt chews up the roads. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage considers shortening studded tire season by 2 weeks," 25 Oct. 2019 The Firebirds chewed up nearly six minutes but couldn't score. Scott Springer,, "Cincinnati, Ohio high school football: Lakota West breaks drought against Lakota East 16-7," 19 Oct. 2019 Since at least the 19th century, the leaves have been either chewed or brewed in tea by people in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to relieve pain, ease fatigue and boost mood. Jacqueline Stenson, NBC News, "What is kratom? The popular herbal supplement has caught flak from the FDA," 16 Oct. 2019 Symptoms include weakness of arm and leg muscles, drooping eyelids, double vision, and difficulties with speech, chewing, swallowing and breathing., "Most read on," 11 Oct. 2019 UConn did and got roughed up, run over, chewed up, spit out, all that stuff. Mike Anthony,, "Mike Anthony: Watching UConn football has become torture; Huskies could be headed toward another one-win season," 6 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since 1909, Dewar’s Candy Shop in Bakersfield, California, has made its chews fresh every single day. Alex Pastron, Bon Appétit, "More Likely Than Not, I’ve Got One of These Taffies in My Pocket," 28 Oct. 2019 The pair then tries to outdo each other with increasingly elaborate gifts, including a pyramid of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, 30 hot dogs, orange juice with toothpaste, a bucket of tater tots, a stack of pancakes, and calcium chews. Joey Nolfi,, "Brad Pitt, Jimmy Fallon out-order each other in hilarious Tonight Show skit," 20 Sep. 2019 The water deepens the pools and chews through their icy banks, until puddles grow to ponds and ponds become lakes. Katie Orlinsky, National Geographic, "Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.," 16 Aug. 2019 Psaltis’ pies have thin, light and crispy crusts, and the heels, aggressively charred by the wood grill, deliver a satisfying chew. Phil Vettel,, "Two pizzerias making a splash along the Chicago River — one with Phil Vettel’s favorite pizza crust in town," 15 Aug. 2019 Banh canh cua drops short, stubby tapioca noodles with a hefty chew into a gentle, ruddy crab broth with a hint of roe and the texture of smooth satin. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Go to Hue Gourmet for Vietnamese cuisine you can't find anywhere else in metro Phoenix," 10 July 2019 Give your pup lots of safe chew toys to occupy them. Marni Jameson,, "8 reasons not to get a dog, and why I have 3," 31 May 2019 The less-daunting chicken legs also have a nice chew to them and a light, crisp garlicky appeal. Beth Segal,, "Cello’s Grill: Carnivorous pleasures abound at this Cleveland Brazilian-style steakhouse," 1 Aug. 2019 Give your pup lots of safe chew toys to occupy them. Marni Jameson,, "8 reasons not to get a dog, and why I have 3," 31 May 2019

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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Statistics for chew

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for chew

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

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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

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).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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