\ 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

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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


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

Another tip off could be boxes in your pantry have been chewed through. Beth Kaufman, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Mice — And Keep Them Away for Good," 18 July 2019 Child soldiers sauntered drunkenly down streets lined with corpses that had been half chewed by Bunia’s dogs. The Economist, "Killings in Congo’s north-east spark fears of a return to war," 13 July 2019 Its significance is its range, 30 boxes of material that had gathered dust and been chewed on by mice over the years since Blumental’s death in 1983. Gal Beckerman, New York Times, "The Holocaust Survivor Who Deciphered Nazi Doublespeak," 24 June 2019 Spieth, one of the tournament’s last commitments, and Mickelson were chewed up by a course and elements that others handled so well. Mike Anthony,, "Mike Anthony: Hey, Google, who is that on the Travelers Championship leaderboard?," 22 June 2019 Some people have allergies, some have legitimate phobias, and some hate returning to their desks only to find their computer cords chewed up by a co-worker’s puppy. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "The most dog-friendly offices in the US, according to," 12 June 2019 To spend time in one of New York City’s airports is basically like getting your foot chewed upon by an alligator, slowly. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Shock Claim: I Spent the Night at the Airport, and Enjoyed It," 16 May 2019 They were honeycombed, more air than wood, chewed hollow by worms. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 Almost everybody's overacting like a champ, though the most scenery is chewed by Jennifer Morrison and Brian F. Durkin as corrupt law enforcement. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: 'Superfly' gets a flashy hip-hop remake that's so bad it's almost good," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Wavy, springy noodles are eminently slurp-able with a nice amount of chew. Rachel Lebeaux,, "Migaku champions the unique taste of champon," 9 July 2019 Zink said although there are some odds-and-ends domestic uses, such as the skin for drums and chews for pets, those can’t replace China. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Tariffs squeezing Colorado exporters and importers alike," 12 Sep. 2019 Give your pup lots of safe chew toys to occupy them. Marni Jameson, The Mercury News, "8 tips on how to dog-proof your house — with style," 4 Sep. 2019 Packing a few chew toys is a great way to keep you dog calm and entertained — KONG toys filled with peanut butter are a great way to keep your pet happy and distracted. Kelli Bender,, "Thinking of Traveling with Your Pet? Here’s Some Tips from the Pros," 20 Aug. 2019 Rice dishes are most compelling in the form of the region’s beloved rice cakes — flattish, ovular, with a satisfying chew. Bill Addison,, "Review: Does Jiang Nan Spring have the SGV’s best Shanghainese food?," 6 June 2019 Last year, Wayfair launched the Archie & Oscar line of pet furnishings with nearly 1,000 pieces, including a gray rattan domed cat lounger and a white Chippendale-style dog gate made of chew-resistant wood. Jura Koncius, Twin Cities, "Custom wood kennels, memory foam beds: The wild world of modern pet furniture," 28 July 2019 The Cards eat anywhere from six to 10 times daily, including meals and smaller snacks like energy chews or post-practice protein shakes. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "U of L basketball players eat 10 times a day. What the heck are they chowing down on?," 11 July 2019 Vibrant orange sweet potato gnocchi, with a playfully non-traditional chew, sit in a thick, almost sticky chicken reduction cut with just a touch of acid. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "The best restaurants in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley," 1 July 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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Learn More about chew

Dictionary Entries near chew







chewing gum

Statistics for chew

Last Updated

30 Sep 2019

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 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).


fear of the number 13

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