Word of the Day

: August 22, 2019


verb CHIV-ee

What It Means

1 : to tease or annoy with persistent petty attacks

2 : to move or obtain by small maneuvers

chivy in Context

Marielle watched her little brother as he chivied an olive from the jar with his fingers.

"To encounter Hemingway as an adult was to be faced with a man whose appetite for supposedly masculine pursuits was so assiduously cultivated as to border on parody…. He would routinely chivy his friends into the ring in order to engage in tests of strength." — Matthew Adams, The Washington Post, 17 May 2017

Did You Know?

Chivy, which is also spelled chivvy, became established in our language in the 19th 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 verb comes from a British noun chivy meaning "chase" or "hunt." That chivy 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 that is used as a game preserve.)

Name That Synonym

What word is the name of a furry burrowing animal and also is a synonym of the verb chivy meaning "to annoy persistently"?



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