\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

These coarse, highly textured types of fiber can remain surprisingly intact even after chewing, which leaves quite a job for the digestive system organs to break down into passable particle sizes. SELF, "Why This Registered Dietitian Tells (Some of) Her Patients to Avoid Kale Salads," 30 Nov. 2018 Veronica Mars' fans could probably chew your ear off about how long this revival has been in the works, especially since the 2014 film—which at that time served as a revival—received a decisive reaction upon its release. D. Elizabeth, Glamour, "Veronica Mars Is So Close to Getting Rebooted at Hulu—With Kristen Bell," 22 Aug. 2018 As most notable movements of birds and mammals occur during early and late hours, wildlife viewing doesn’t chew into a significant portion of a three-day adventure. Peter Reese, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Way To Spend 72 Hours at Jackson Hole," 31 July 2018 Even as flames chew through forestland nearby, Hattendorf and others are working to repair the damage caused not by flames but by firefighters trying to stop them. Jonathan J. Cooper, Fox News, "Firefighting mars the earth. California crews are fixing it," 15 Aug. 2018 The higher-end SoCs have special considerations for doing always-on listening in a battery-efficient manner, but that feature would probably chew through battery on lower-end devices. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Nokia 6.1 Review—The best answer to “What Android phone should I buy?”," 13 July 2018 One of the largest recorded fires in Colorado history kept expanding, chewing through 147 square miles near Fort Garland, about 205 miles southwest of Denver., "Wildfires keep growing in US West," 4 July 2018 From there, the West took possession and was able to chew up the clock on the ground to preserve the win. Scott Springer,, "Jordan Fann leads West over East at St. Elizabeth Healthcare East-West All-Star Football Game," 7 June 2018 The rats had made nests everywhere and chewed through studs. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, "The blog Two Flat: Remade chronicles one family’s ten-year struggle to rehab a maggot-infested fixer-upper in Logan Square," 15 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The chews grew quickly in popularity and now make up about 84 percent of her business, Hoffman said. Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "Washington to ‘reevaluate’ marijuana edibles, crack down on products that might appeal to kids," 5 Oct. 2018 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

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

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

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