chum

1 of 5

noun (1)

: a close friend : pal
chumship noun

chum

2 of 5

verb (1)

chummed; chumming

intransitive verb

1
: to room together
2
a
: to be a close friend
b
: to show affable friendliness
c
: to spend time with someone as a friend
usually used with around
In the early '50s he entered Cornell University but quit after two years and lit out for Greenwich Village, where he studied drama and chummed around with James Dean.William Plummer et al.

chum

3 of 5

noun (2)

: animal or vegetable matter (such as chopped fish or corn) thrown overboard to attract fish

chum

4 of 5

verb (2)

chummed; chumming

transitive verb

: to attract with chum

intransitive verb

: to throw chum overboard to attract fish

chum

5 of 5

noun (3)

Examples of chum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In the wake of it all, the fish chum nourishes everything, even the plants. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Apr. 2024 Last week, stocks got a big boost after another blowout report from Nvidia put more chum into the frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology. Elaine Kurtenbach, Quartz, 27 Feb. 2024 An old Oxford chum, Alan (Nicholas Lyndhurst), soon convinces him to try his hand as a Harvard instructor, in a psychology department run by Olivia (Toks Olagundoye). Michael Schneider, Variety, 22 Feb. 2024 The classic sitcom about six chums tryin' to make it in the Big Apple is available in its entirety on Max for all of your binging purposes. Declan Gallagher, EW.com, 7 Nov. 2023 Blood was in the water now, and the amuse-bouche had somehow become chum. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 13 Feb. 2024 Thelma’s adventures with her assisted-living chum (the late Richard Roundtree) generated some of the best laughs from any film in the fest, and those scenes between grandma and grandson touched my soul. Randy Myers, The Mercury News, 29 Jan. 2024 My childhood chum, now a high school junior, presses her forefinger against pursed lips. Various Staff Writers, Special Correspondents, and Special Contributors, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Dec. 2023 The chums who are just a bit taller, a bit fitter, who have bigger houses, more money, better connections, who swim faster and cope better with the lido’s freezing winter temperatures. Claire Cohen, Vogue, 7 Dec. 2023
Verb
Attention Upper East Siders, spotted: Lonely Boy and Little J chumming it up just like old times. Calie Schepp, EW.com, 1 Sep. 2023 And unfortunately, Gay’s resignation will be like blood that further chums the water. Charles Blow, The Mercury News, 9 Jan. 2024 Some anglers chum the day or night before, then fish the following morning. Jim Gronaw, Baltimore Sun, 23 July 2023 All that said, by Coughlin’s calculation, Sinema will still have to garner the support of 20 to 25 percent of Arizona’s Democrats who are somehow unbothered by the spectacle of their former Democratic senator now chumming it up with Republicans while disparaging the Biden administration. Robert Draper, New York Times, 1 May 2023 On Friday, scores of Republicans, including every 2024 hopeful, descended upon Indianapolis to chum it up with NRA members in the aftermath of two devastating mass shootings in Kentucky and Tennessee. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 14 Apr. 2023 Some chase them down, others operate tours, and chum the water to attract them. Joe Mozingo, oregonlive, 16 May 2021 What’s the most effective way to chum for carp? The Editors, Field & Stream, 10 Aug. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

earlier "roommate, person living in the same dwelling," perhaps by shortening & alteration from chamber fellow or chamber mate

Verb (1)

verbal derivative of chum entry 1

Noun (2)

of uncertain origin

Note: The word is apparently first attested along the New England coast. The Dictionary of American Regional English suggests a relation to "obs[olete] Engl[ish] & Scots dial[ect] chum food," but the sole attestation of such a word ("chum food, provision for the belly, Clydes[dale]") is in John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language (1808). Possibly related is chum "a formless mass (of vegetables) from over-boiling," in the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, which points to Ulster Scots champ "potatoes, boiled and mashed," recorded in Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary. This would presumably connect the word to champ entry 1.

Verb (2)

verbal derivative of chum entry 3

Noun (3)

probably borrowed from Chinook Jargon cəm "spotted, striped," from Lower Chinook c̓ə́m "variegated"

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1684, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

1730, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1857, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1857, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (3)

1902, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chum was in 1684

Dictionary Entries Near chum

Cite this Entry

“Chum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chum. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

chum

1 of 2 noun
: a close friend

chum

2 of 2 verb
chummed; chumming
: to be chums
Etymology

Noun

probably a shortened and altered form of earlier chamber fellow "roommate"

More from Merriam-Webster on chum

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