Definition of chav in English:



derogatory, informal
  • A young lower-class person typified by brash and loutish behaviour.

    • ‘Yesterday the chavs were debating age differences in relationships.’
    • ‘Similarly, I can't spot who are the chavs and who aren't.’
    • ‘He is England's most exciting young footballing talent, a teenage multi-millionaire… and a chav.’
    • ‘If I ever mention pikies, or chavs, it's simply as a white, working class kid from a council estate writing about other white, working class kids on the same council estate.’
    • ‘Then I spot a group of five or six real chavs in hooded tops and trackie bottoms sitting on a wall by a bus stop.’
    • ‘You turn slowly to face a schoolyard packed with chavs in baseball caps and tracksuits, the uniform for our times.’
    • ‘What are the chavs of today going to look back on with fond memories?’
    • ‘Beyond proving that British chavs lead the world in teenage debauchery there are other interesting statistical snippets.’
    • ‘So with brain power that isn't far behind that of the local chavs they wreak havoc in the village street and it's the chavs that get the blame.’
    • ‘Has nobody else worked out that you simply can't go around letting these chavs get their hands on cocaine without expecting a giant leap in the number of dead common assaults?’
    • ‘‘We loved Sophie McGill on the subject of chavs,’ he writes.’
    • ‘This precinct of shops is habitually used by a bunch of local chavs to hang out, harass people going to said shops, smoke, drink and be generally chav-ish.’
    • ‘The old bill are very interested in these two chavs, because they've been very active recently, nicking stuff from all and sundry, but they've got no hard evidence on which they can get a warrant to search their house.’
    • ‘Not only are we under constant threat from terrorists, asylum cheats and bogus chavs, honest citizens are now being oppressed by tops with hoods on them.’
    • ‘I have to say, the chavs round here are still wearing shellsuits, and leggings with white stilettos.’
    • ‘I would say it was fairly classless - I encountered posh people and the chavviest of chavs, and everything in between.’
    • ‘Having a moan has become fashionable, whether it's about grammar, chavs or cheap furniture.’
    • ‘The anti-social behaviour of male chavs seems to reflect their realisation that they are an underclass, not really needed any more, except when young for unskilled manual jobs.’
    • ‘Yet a belief in copycat behaviour goes hand in hand with a low opinion of proletarian chavs, seeing a thug lurking under every baseball cap.’
    • ‘Mullets, bad wigs and chavs have all been outed.’


1990s: probably from Romany chavo ‘boy, youth’ or chavvy ‘baby, child’: sometimes said to have originated in Chatham, Kent, and to be a shortening of that name.