Definition of chew in English:



  • 1 Bite and work (food) in the mouth with the teeth, especially to make it easier to swallow.

    ‘he was chewing a mouthful of toast’
    [no object] ‘he chewed for a moment, then swallowed’
    • ‘Her teeth were too sensitive to chew her food and her eyes were too sensitive to have the dining hall curtains open for sunlight.’
    • ‘As I chewed my food, I shook my head and pretended to be appalled by his lack of interest.’
    • ‘They put the leaves one by one in their mouth and chew them without swallowing.’
    • ‘Carefully it placed a piece in its mouth, chewed, swallowed, and bared its teeth at them.’
    • ‘When you eat, you only put as much food in your mouth as you can comfortably chew with your mouth closed.’
    • ‘A chip was tossed at her and she caught it in her mouth, chewed vigorously, then swallowed.’
    • ‘Teach children to chew food more slowly and savour the food.’
    • ‘People who chew food with their mouths open should be beaten to death with plates.’
    • ‘He snacks or dines only when there is time to chew his food well.’
    • ‘He swallowed it without chewing, just dropping it into his mouth and never seeing it again.’
    • ‘She was so hungry she could hardly chew the food.’
    • ‘Warily she plucked a grape from the bunch and popped it in her mouth, chewing before swallowing.’
    • ‘Baby teeth are important because children need healthy teeth to chew food and to speak.’
    • ‘Seahorses have no stomachs or teeth and are therefore unable to store large meals or chew their food.’
    • ‘I wiped the cheese on my mouth away with the napkin and quickly chewed and swallowed the chip.’
    • ‘He stared down at his plate nervously, slowly chewing the bite of food that he just took.’
    • ‘Katie could see his jaw line and every movement he made as he chewed and swallowed his food.’
    • ‘With the end of the cleanse so near, I begin to obsess about tasting and chewing solid food again.’
    • ‘He eats hurriedly, chewing with his mouth open as he stuffs more food in his mouth.’
    • ‘He simply stuffed a forkful of overly priced gourmet food into his mouth and chewed slowly.’
    masticate, munch, champ, chomp, crunch, bite, nibble, gnaw, grind
    eat, consume, devour
    manducate, triturate
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    1. 1.1Gnaw at (something) persistently.
      ‘he chewed his lip reflectively’
      [no object] ‘she chewed at a fingernail’
      • ‘However, something strange happens to her voice as she stands at the door chewing her lip and waiting to be invited in.’
      • ‘Lea chews her bottom lip pensively, she looks close to cracking, but what could her secret be?’
      • ‘He chewed his lip anxiously as he scanned the street from the wide doorframe of the barn.’
      • ‘I stood staring at him holding my soaking wet towel tight around my body chewing my bottom lip furiously.’
      • ‘Her eyes moved about in worry and she began to chew her bottom lip nervously.’
      • ‘Still feeling very confused, Ally hung up the phone and chewed her lip in thought.’
      • ‘The Indians chew this red weed, like some people chew tobacco, and of course this leads to a build up of red spit which needs to be deposited.’
      • ‘She was absently chewing her bottom lip and her eyes stared blankly into space.’
      • ‘Looking longingly at the items, she stood chewing her lip, wondering which item she should get.’
      • ‘I frowned and chewed my lip worriedly as I slowly reached out to take the phone.’
      • ‘Ryan brought the pen he was holding to his lip to chew the pen lid, mulling the answer to a question on his revision over.’
      • ‘That's not true, for medical evidence says that smoking or chewing tobacco can kill people.’
      • ‘Martina chews the inside of her lip, examining the other woman carefully.’
      • ‘Madison chews her bottom lip for a while in thought.’
      • ‘I was standing there, chewing my lip and lost in thought when I realized that he was studying my face.’
      • ‘He chewed his bottom lip and didn't say much else for a while.’
      • ‘He chews tobacco though, which probably doesn't play so well with soccer moms.’
      • ‘She chewed her lip nervously as she realized this was the scene where Romeo and Juliet kissed.’
      • ‘Glancing back at his brother, Tyler chews his lip.’
      • ‘They chew their nails, lick their lips, jump over cracks in the pavement.’
      bite, nibble, munch, crunch, champ, chomp, masticate
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  • 1A repeated biting or gnawing of something.

    ‘the dog was enjoying a quiet chew of his bone’
    • ‘Robin spat through chews, ‘It's mighty tasty.’’
    • ‘Her huge lips smacked together with each chew of gum that gave off a putrid, sickening watermelon stench.’
    • ‘The bulldozer driver gives a quick chew of his gum and slams in the clutch.’
    • ‘They say the bigger the apple the juicier the chew.’
    • ‘Most people today swallow their food after giving it one or two chews, and it enters the intestines very hard.’
    • ‘He's going to have a good chew on the marrow and it gives him something to hold, he said.’
    • ‘In fact I can't go half a mile on the car without a chew.’
    • ‘‘Or an old friend that wants your body,’ Andy mumbled between chews, glancing out of the window.’
    • ‘‘Sleight of hand,’ he explained between chews.’
    • ‘Through the gap, I turned to see a seal having a gentle chew.’
    • ‘‘I think she's gonna score,’ said Mars between chews.’
    1. 1.1Something that is meant for chewing.
      ‘a dog chew’
      ‘a chew of tobacco’
      • ‘As Straw points out, even toys can be dangerous, using as an example the rawhide chews many dogs are so fond of; the hides are preserved and cured with chemicals that can be carcinogenic.’
      • ‘A woman was standing over him and a dog was playing with a chew toy on the floor.’
      • ‘Next, they plan to test which versions of the chew toys dogs like best.’
      • ‘Neither is the offering of tobacco a part of generalised hospitality - except in the form of the loose tobacco which women add to betel nut chews.’
      • ‘The dog chew would be manufactured from scrap cow skin using a special type of machine specifically designed for this purpose which was purchased from South Africa.’
      • ‘Besides feasting on goodies such as sausages, dog biscuits and chews, the guests will play games, such as tug the lead, chase the ball and musical dogs.’
      • ‘I will take her out before we go so she will be tired anyway and then leave her lots of chews to munch on to keep her busy.’
      • ‘To help keep dog's teeth in tip top shape, give them rawhide chews to gnaw on.’
      • ‘Besides being fed anything from dog chews to porridge, he is also allowed to sleep at the foot of her bed.’
      • ‘The local vet says there are lots of dental aids available for dogs from chews to little toothbrushes.’
      • ‘He pulled out his pouch of tobacco and took out a chew.’
      • ‘She followed the noise to find two medium-sized dogs tugging and tearing at either end of a chew toy.’
      • ‘He does get the regular assortment of dog treats: greenies, rawhide chews, dog biscuits, etc.’
      • ‘Another up and coming illegal meat is known as ‘welly meat’ which is a hide chew.’
      • ‘So, chucking her a pork based chew, I picked up my keys and ran to David.’
      • ‘Later on, you can spend hours finding fun toys, dog chews, and dog costumes for your new best canine friend.’
      • ‘Nontobacco chews and pouches or herbal chews also may help curb your cravings.’
      • ‘She was smacking loudly on a chew of gum as she went to give her son a bear hug and a kiss.’
      • ‘Smokeless tobacco - spit tobacco, chew, snuff or dip - is just as dangerous.’
      • ‘During playtime, the purebred German shepherd will run circles around anyone wearing sealskin and whine for a chew.’
      quid, twist, plug, chew
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    2. 1.2A chewy sweet.
      ‘a gobstopper or a chew could be bought for a farthing’
      • ‘I don't think I managed to blow all the money from the flat sale, but let's just say that consequently I am going to have to kiss a couple of thousand penny chews goodbye.’
      • ‘The chocolate cap gave way to a rush of powdered sugar, and beneath it, a soft, dark, winy chew.’
      • ‘You could walk in to a shop with a pound, hoping to buy thirty penny chews and come out with 70p, but by the time you got to the checkout the price would have gone up.’
      • ‘The site stars members of the Nabisco confection lineup, such as LifeSavers and Now and Later chews.’
      • ‘And we're not talking a balloon and a penny chew.’
      • ‘Children at Coniston Primary School have got involved as well, scrimping on the penny chews to contribute the change from their dinner money to the loo fund instead.’
      • ‘It is tempting to just go down the shops and recklessly spend the money, possibly blowing the lot on penny chews, but unfortunately I need all of it to make a small dent in the bigger mortgage I have on my new place.’
      • ‘They spent their childhood together in her sweet shop, stealing penny chews.’
      • ‘After raising a few chuckles at home he submitted it to a joke contest run by the makers of Refreshers chews - and was amazed to be chosen as the winner.’
      • ‘On Monday, I was force-fed chocolates and Werther's Original and Starburst fruit chews.’
      • ‘I turned to look and saw this man standing there and just before I could say something, he spit his chew on the sidewalk next to my feet.’
      • ‘Could it be that inflation has ballooned the price of bouncy balls and penny chews?’
      • ‘Now there are vitamin-laced jelly beans and ginseng-stoked chews.’
      • ‘Vicky said it tasted of candyfloss, but there was also a sharpness that reminded me of the mouth-lacerating ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ penny chews from when I was little.’
      • ‘It may sound like an oxymoron, but new candy chews and candy bars that promise dental benefits and added vitamins are coming to the candy store.’
      • ‘But now she's back and has won a lifetime supply of Choco - Caramel chews.’


  • chew the cud

    • 1(of a ruminant animal) further chew partly digested food.

      • ‘As you can see, they're all very quiet, laying down there on their beds, chewing their cud, very relaxed and tame.’
      • ‘As they chew the cud, rumen development is encouraged and this promotes a lean weanling with a large frame to send to grass.’
      • ‘The ban extends to all ruminant animals, or mammals that chew their cud.’
      • ‘Standing around chewing the cud, cows don't look especially threatening.’
      • ‘Only those animals having divided hooves and chewing the cud are permitted - in practice, cow, sheep, goat, and deer, but not pig, camel, horse, or rabbit.’
      • ‘She turned liquid brown eyes to view him and continued to chew the cud as she watched him pull out a stool and bucket.’
      • ‘We can't worry about not eating shellfish or animals that chew the cud.’
      • ‘The longer length of the chopped grass allows cows to chew the cud.’
      • ‘After a few seconds the cow began to twitch and was soon back to normal and chewing the cud.’
      • ‘God instructed Moses and Aaron to tell the people what food to eat - any animal with a split hoof which chews the cud.’
      • ‘It knelt in the centre of its pen with three woolly, unshorn friends, contentedly chewing the cud.’
      • ‘Ruminants are more susceptible than horses or swine because cud chewing and rumen bacteria help release the cyanide.’
      • ‘In 1997, Canada placed a ban on cattle feed that contains animal parts, particularly those of cattle, sheep and other cud-chewing animals.’
      • ‘As in other parts of India, it's not uncommon to find cows - sacred animals to Hindus - lounging in the medians or on the sidewalk chewing their cud, unfazed by the choking diesel fumes.’
      • ‘It was like being in a field with three very elegant but undernourished heifers chewing the cud.’
      • ‘And in the later years, like an old buffalo, sometimes undependable, sluggish, mule-ish, she has a tendency to stop when and where she wants to, chewing the cud in the middle of the road.’
      • ‘When looking at the herd 3 hours after milking, 70% should be lying down or chewing their cud.’
      • ‘After leaving our transport vehicles we slithered on our stomachs through fields, passing a number of cows lying down chewing their cud.’
      • ‘They could have been cycling through Normandy, with lush green hedges to left and right and cows chewing the cud in fields next to half-timbered houses.’
      • ‘The cow resembled her a little bit too, the way it chewed its cud and looked stupidly around as though waiting for someone to come along and give it some hay.’
    • 2Think or talk reflectively.

      ‘we chewed the cud and drank a few beers’
      • ‘I have never found that that I was helped by clinging to the memory of the wrong done me nor by chewing the cud of bitterness and savoring the thought of some exquisite punishment being meted out to them.’
      • ‘The opportunity to get together to chew the cud with fellow farmers once a week must be a tremendous boost to morale, especially with the challenges, disasters and traumas which have confronted agriculture in recent times.’
      • ‘I was sitting around yesterday, chewing the cud with the fellows, solving the problems of the world, and watching a little rugby out of the corner of my eye.’
      • ‘I will leave the press to chew its own incomprehensible cud, and address myself only to the movies.’
      • ‘Some of the more quick-witted locals are chewing the cud, and guess what — they are beginning to wonder if there's a link between the letter and the plane crash.’
      • ‘I spent this evening with Polly, Jo and mostly with Sarah, chewing the cud.’
      • ‘This is a lot of cud to chew in a medium that I continue to insist is emotional, not intellectual.’
      • ‘The two chewed the cud and decided to replicate the success of an existing internet company but with a different business model.’
      • ‘I even chewed the cud with two (of the very, very many) white-haired older women who seem to frequent Hartington.’
      • ‘There is only so much chewing of further cud one can take over Gershwin's personality.’
      contemplate, think about, consider, ponder, cogitate, muse
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  • chew the fat (or rag)

    • informal Chat in a leisurely and prolonged way.

      ‘we were chewing the fat, telling stories about the old days’
      • ‘But my mind is not closed and I have spent many interesting hours chewing the fat with those who come knocking on my door.’
      • ‘You can argue about our latest articles, chew the fat about politics, faith, life and culture, and gab with folk from pretty much everywhere.’
      • ‘At any rate, we sat down to chew the fat for a while.’
      • ‘I am meeting Peter for coffee next week but that's just to catch up and chew the fat.’
      • ‘They arrived and chewed the fat about football, namely Kildare football.’
      • ‘There aren't any jokes, just a bunch of normal people chewing the fat.’
      • ‘Oh yeah, the record itself is pretty much a narrative with its own theory, and obviously I love chewing the fat about it.’
      • ‘He comes across as your next-door neighbour chewing the fat with you, hoping that things will improve with time.’
      • ‘But personally, I think the line has been crossed when they pull up a bar stool next to you and start chewing the fat.’
      • ‘Sarah came back to mine for coffee and we chewed the rag.’
      chat, talk, converse, speak to each other, discuss things, have a talk, have a chat, have a tête-à-tête, have a conversation
      have a confab, jaw, rap, yak, yap
      natter, rabbit, have a chinwag, chinwag
      shoot the breeze, shoot the bull, visit
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Phrasal Verbs

  • chew someone out

    • Reprimand someone severely.

      ‘he chewed me out for being late’
      • ‘He pulled a player for making a mistake, chewed him out, then hugged him around the neck and kissed him on the cheek.’
      • ‘After he returned to the bench, he was chewed out by his coach, who punctuated his displeasure by emphatically grabbing the player's leg.’
      • ‘On two separate occasions, people had come up to him in the airport while he was wearing his uniform and just chewed him out about the war.’
      • ‘Morgan had gone back to the house after I'd practically chewed her out and I didn't blame her.’
      • ‘When something bad happens - your boss chews you out or you discover your bank account is overdrawn again - you may need to take time to step back from the situation.’
      • ‘I was just livid all day long at the way they chewed me out.’
      • ‘I figured they'd be more likely to talk to me if I gave them an excuse to chew me out.’
      • ‘Yeah, I know I'm totally beautiful and could do better - my mother already called me and chewed me out.’
      • ‘Your boss chews you out over something inconsequential, and hours later on the drive home, you find yourself replaying her comments over and over again.’
      • ‘I'm about to chew her out when I glance sideways.’
      criticize, censure, condemn, castigate, chastise, lambaste, pillory, savage, find fault with, fulminate against, abuse
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  • chew something over

    • Discuss or consider something at length.

      ‘executives met to chew over the company's future’
      • ‘People normally differ by temperament, but they also differ in cognitive style, the degree to which they chew things over, worry about them, and draw negative conclusions.’
      • ‘We talked about the play still, no matter how many times we chewed it over.’
      • ‘People are often consumed with the past, ruminating about events and chewing them over and over.’
      • ‘You have the opportunity to read and re-read many times, to chew it over, consider the message, roll it around in your mind, get an impression of what was truly meant.’
      • ‘Gabriel chewed this new information over one last time before letting out a breath.’
      • ‘The others began to join in the discussion, chewing ideas over.’
      • ‘But now he had a tricky decision to make and no one to chew it over with.’
      • ‘It doesn't appear that they could afford the luxury of chewing it over in the abstract and offering peer review services.’
      • ‘As the nation's daily newspaper, we are the forum in which all sides of these big issues are chewed over.’
      • ‘The adopted son chewed this news over, looked deep in thought for a moment, and with a smile spreading across his face enthused: ‘Well, can't we adopt him too?’’
      meditate on, ruminate on, think about, think over, think through, mull over, contemplate, consider, weigh up, ponder on, deliberate on, reflect on, muse on, cogitate about, dwell on, take stock of, give thought to, turn over in one's mind, consider the pros and cons of
      brood over, wrestle with, puzzle over, rack one's brains about
      think on
      kick about, kick around, bat about, bat around
      pore on
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  • chew something up

    • Damage or destroy something as if by chewing.

      ‘the bikes were chewing up the paths’
      • ‘It's where your personality is chewed up and spat out and re-presented to you, so the trajectory of you as an individual is taken out of your hands.’
      • ‘Seniors will be more concerned than ever about Social Security as the economy softens, the surplus is chewed up, deficit spending returns and the demagogues start distorting the issue.’
      • ‘Also, the outfield is chewed up, so when an outfielder charges for a hit, he can't go full-speed because the grass is not smooth and the ball might hop over his glove.’
      • ‘And, as anticipated, the red squirrel population began to decline almost immediately, since its preferred habitat had been chewed up and spat out.’
      • ‘Even the most amazing things are chewed up and spat out the next week.’
      • ‘The transmission was another matter: There were fragments of metal in the gearbox where some of the gears had been chewed up.’
      • ‘The only difference was that the kelp-beds had been chewed up by molds and scavengers.’
      • ‘The payroll won't be as flexible as it might appear; approximately two-thirds of the $25 million savings will be chewed up by salary escalations and arbitration increases.’
      • ‘The problems were highlighted when 50 wheelie bins in Stewartby had to be removed after a malfunctioning council-owned dust cart chewed them up.’
      • ‘The land has been chewed up and the archaeology has been turned over - it's quite frightening.’
      crush, rumple, screw up, squeeze, compress
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Old English cēowan, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch kauwen and German kauen.