\ˈchi-vē \
variants: or chivvy
chivied or chivvied; chivying or chivvying

Definition of chivy 

transitive verb

1 : to tease or annoy with persistent petty attacks

2 : to move or obtain by small maneuvers chivy an olive out of a bottle

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Choose the Right Synonym for chivy

bait, badger, heckle, hector, chivy, hound mean to harass by efforts to break down. bait implies wanton cruelty or delight in persecuting a helpless victim. baited the chained dog badger implies pestering so as to drive a person to confusion or frenzy. badgered her father for a car heckle implies persistent annoying or belligerent interruptions of a speaker. drunks heckled the stand-up comic hector carries an implication of bullying and domineering. football players hectored by their coach chivy suggests persecution by teasing or nagging. chivied the new student mercilessly hound implies unrelenting pursuit and harassing. hounded by creditors

Did You Know?

Chivy, which is also spelled "chivvy," became established in our language in the early 20th century and at first meant "to harass or chase." Early usage examples are of people chivying a chicken around to catch it and of a person chivying around food that is frying. The word itself is from the British noun of the same spelling meaning "chase" or "hunt." The noun is believed to be derived from Chevy Chase-a term for "chase" or "confusion" that is taken from the name of a ballad describing the 1388 battle of Otterburn between the Scottish and English. (A chase in this context is an unenclosed tract of land in England that is used as a game preserve.)

Examples of chivy in a Sentence

a boss with a reputation for chivying his workers about every little thing

Recent Examples on the Web

The rich world should focus its attention—and resources, including charity—on chivvying them along. The Economist, "Plastic surgeryDon’t bin plastic. To solve the polymer problem look East," 1 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chivy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of chivy

1918, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chivy

chivy, noun, chase, hunt, probably from English dialect Chevy Chase chase, confusion, from the name of a ballad describing the battle of Otterburn (1388)

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The first known use of chivy was in 1918

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What made you want to look up chivy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

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