\ 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

For 15 seconds in the back half of the event, Alabama’s football coach wordlessly chewed on an open-ended question in the spirit the sport’s 150th birthday. Michael Casagrande |, al, "Trevor Lawrence on Nick Saban’s list of great QBs that includes Elway, Marino, Brady," 16 Aug. 2019 Viv Rook now leads the Four Star Party and wants to be a force in British politics, and Thompson's sometimes scenery-chewing performance as the brashy blonde lands just on the right side of the line to stand up the hairs on the back of your neck. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Years and Years: Dystopian sci-fi that makes Black Mirror feel bubbly," 8 Aug. 2019 Support was much lower, however, among those using tobacco products other than cigarettes, including cigars, e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Most Americans, Including Smokers, Like the Idea of Less-Addictive Cigarettes," 11 July 2019 Nearly all serious professional eaters do this, and with such gusto that the food arrives at their waiting mouths nearly pre-chewed, like the regurgitated offerings of a mother bird. Aj Willingham, CNN, "The best scarfing methods at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest," 4 July 2019 Cramman, a mustachioed, tobacco-chewing 28-year-old who evokes a typical baseball player (except for his North London accent), was well positioned to develop into one of Britain’s better homegrown players. David Waldstein, New York Times, "Baseball in London? It’s a Real Thing, Even When the Yankees Aren’t Visiting," 26 June 2019 An entertainingly scenery-chewing Richard Dreyfuss performance intermittently livens up a movie that’s otherwise fairly unremarkable. Noel Murray,, "Reviews for ‘Daughter of the Wolf,’ ‘Lost Angelas,’ ‘Head Count,’ ‘Killer Unicorn,’ ‘Vault’," 13 June 2019 Magneto, whom Fassbender has presented with a kind of scenery-chewing relish over the series, is calmer here, subdued. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Quiet Strengths of 'Dark Phoenix'," 8 June 2019 There are the crunchy moms who suggest chewing them off, saying the nails are usually soft and flexible and the baby won’t care. Carrie Melago, Washington Post, "The unique horror of trimming a newborn’s nails (and the lesson it taught me about parenting)," 31 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Some of the mitzvah projects during this event will include assembling school supplies for children in foster care, assembling sandwiches for local needy families, making chew toys for dogs and making slipper socks for a veterans nursing home. Sergio Carmona,, "Synagogue’s open house to include mitzvah projects," 1 Aug. 2019 The tawny pastry itself is only lightly sweetened, dense and slightly crunchy at the outside, like most good doughnuts, with a vaguely oily nuttiness and an almost substantial chew. Peter Meehan,, "All about the epic strawberry doughnuts from the Donut Man," 25 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, Washington Post, "Custom wood kennels and memory foam beds: Welcome to the wild world of modern pet furniture," 17 July 2019 Then, there are the dozens of different types of sweet-hot-tart Mexican candy, including chews and gummies. Daniela Galarza, New York Times, "‘Tajín Is a Lifestyle’: An Appreciation of the Mexican Seasoning Mix," 10 June 2019 Most boxes are stocked with two treats from conscientious brands—like Portland’s Cycle Dog and California’s Bobby + Bambi’s—two toys, and a chew or stylish accessory (hello, bandanas!). Sunset, "10 Best Healthy Pet Treats," 22 Jan. 2018 Use buttercream to attach a pink Necco wafer or a small circle of pink fruit chew for the snout, then pipe small brown buttercream vertical lines for nostrils. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Spring Animal Cupcakes," 7 Mar. 2019 The Vertical event is the high-jump—a dog runs and leaps for a chew toy suspended just off the dock and raised with each round of competition. Christopher Solomon, Outside Online, "This Whippet Is One of the World's Great Athletes," 18 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

19 Aug 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).


not constant or steady

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