\ 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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from chew


chewable \ ˈchü-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce chew (audio) \ adjective
chewer noun
chewy \ ˈchü-​ē How to pronounce chew (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Can Jimmy walk and chew gum at the same time, while also keeping his Hula Hoop spinning and reading defenses? Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance could be an awkward handoff," 29 Apr. 2021 Learning to sit up straight, eat at a table or high chair, take small bites, chew food completely, and take time to eat vs. rushing through a meal are important for food safety. Lauren Harrison,, "Safe Kids Carroll County: Food choices and mealtime behavior can prevent choking," 3 Apr. 2021 Dogs may chase or chew their tails because of itching or pain. Jennifer Nelson, Southern Living, "Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?," 24 Apr. 2021 Taking into consideration their dietary habits, Chiu curated a selection of dishes for the elderly in his community that are easy to chew and digest. Heather Law And Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "What six Asian Americans are doing to fight hate in their communities," 23 Apr. 2021 Then calmly place this combination of avocado and toast, otherwise known as avocado toast, in your mouth, and chew while smiling. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, "3 Breakthrough Covid-19 Coronavirus Deaths Among 700,000+ Fully Vaccinated In Oregon," 12 Apr. 2021 Mulligan remains involved in much of it, and really gets the opportunity to chew the scenery here and there. Matthew Love, Vulture, "Saturday Night Live Recap: Carey Mulligan Kicks the Drama Into Hyperspace," 11 Apr. 2021 Metal dog crates: These crates are the most durable option for dog owners, especially if your dog likes to chew. Mili Godio, NBC News, "How to crate train your dog, according to experts," 8 Apr. 2021 To take the test, patients can't eat or drink anything, brush or floss their teeth or use mouthwash, or smoke or chew gum for one hour prior. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, "New York hospital launches COVID-19 saliva testing for those seeking to attend large events, fly internationally," 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Like many cooks, Ms. Young’s mother always added a little cold water at the end of the mixing process, for a whisper of that glutinous chew. Rachel Wharton, New York Times, "The Secret to Smooth Doughs and Fluffy Bread Is Already at Hand," 16 Apr. 2021 The result is a pizza crust with just the right amount of chew and crackle. Elyse Inamine, Bon Appétit, "Everything About Brandoni Pepperoni’s Pizzas Scream Los Angeles," 26 Mar. 2021 Bruner suggested taking the rice paper off a fruit chew being developed and use a mylar wrapper that the candy wouldn’t adhere to. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, "Food brands you didn’t know are from Cincinnati," 2 Apr. 2021 Finding a durable chew toy that won't splinter and isn't a choking hazard has been quite the task. Jorie Nicole Mcdonald, Southern Living, "This All-Natural, Amazon Chew Toy Keeps My Dog Entertained for Hours on End," 26 Feb. 2021 The basic crepe, made with a mixture of rice, wheat and other flours, has a distinct, whole wheat-like chew. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "For the year of the ox, Bay Area's food community is grounding itself," 15 Feb. 2021 Las Conchas also had one of the West Side’s better flour tortillas ($2.39 per dozen) with a touch more salt than most and a perfect, tender chew. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "Where to find the best tortillas on San Antonio's West Side: The 6 best tortillerías in that part of town," 24 Feb. 2021 In fact, Goop has already come under fire for promoting the nonexistent flu-preventing properties of elderberry chew on their website. Elizabeth Gulino,, "Gwyneth Paltrow Reveals She Has “Long-Haul” COVID. Here’s What She Wants To Sell You," 18 Feb. 2021 And with the addition of tapioca flour, this actually had a slightly pleasant chew that adds dimension to the initial crispiness of the crust. Los Angeles Times, "The official frozen pizza power rankings," 27 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

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'

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chew

Time Traveler for chew

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for chew

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on chew

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!