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

    • ‘They say the bigger the apple the juicier the chew.’
    • ‘Robin spat through chews, ‘It's mighty tasty.’’
    • ‘The bulldozer driver gives a quick chew of his gum and slams in the clutch.’
    • ‘Her huge lips smacked together with each chew of gum that gave off a putrid, sickening watermelon stench.’
    • ‘‘Or an old friend that wants your body,’ Andy mumbled between chews, glancing out of the window.’
    • ‘Through the gap, I turned to see a seal having a gentle chew.’
    • ‘‘Sleight of hand,’ he explained between chews.’
    • ‘‘I think she's gonna score,’ said Mars between chews.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1Something other than food that is meant for chewing.
      ‘a dog chew’
      ‘a chew of tobacco’
      • ‘A woman was standing over him and a dog was playing with a chew toy on the floor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She followed the noise to find two medium-sized dogs tugging and tearing at either end of a chew toy.’
      • ‘Besides being fed anything from dog chews to porridge, he is also allowed to sleep at the foot of her bed.’
      • ‘Nontobacco chews and pouches or herbal chews also may help curb your cravings.’
      • ‘He does get the regular assortment of dog treats: greenies, rawhide chews, dog biscuits, etc.’
      • ‘Later on, you can spend hours finding fun toys, dog chews, and dog costumes for your new best canine friend.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So, chucking her a pork based chew, I picked up my keys and ran to David.’
      • ‘During playtime, the purebred German shepherd will run circles around anyone wearing sealskin and whine for a chew.’
      • ‘Smokeless tobacco - spit tobacco, chew, snuff or dip - is just as dangerous.’
      • ‘Another up and coming illegal meat is known as ‘welly meat’ which is a hide chew.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To help keep dog's teeth in tip top shape, give them rawhide chews to gnaw on.’
      • ‘She was smacking loudly on a chew of gum as she went to give her son a bear hug and a kiss.’
      • ‘He pulled out his pouch of tobacco and took out a chew.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Next, they plan to test which versions of the chew toys dogs like best.’
      • ‘The local vet says there are lots of dental aids available for dogs from chews to little toothbrushes.’
      quid, twist, plug, chew
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  • chew the cud

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

      • ‘After a few seconds the cow began to twitch and was soon back to normal and chewing the cud.’
      • ‘After leaving our transport vehicles we slithered on our stomachs through fields, passing a number of cows lying down chewing their cud.’
      • ‘As they chew the cud, rumen development is encouraged and this promotes a lean weanling with a large frame to send to grass.’
      • ‘She turned liquid brown eyes to view him and continued to chew the cud as she watched him pull out a stool and bucket.’
      • ‘In 1997, Canada placed a ban on cattle feed that contains animal parts, particularly those of cattle, sheep and other cud-chewing animals.’
      • ‘The longer length of the chopped grass allows cows to chew the cud.’
      • ‘We can't worry about not eating shellfish or animals that chew the cud.’
      • ‘It was like being in a field with three very elegant but undernourished heifers 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.’
      • ‘Ruminants are more susceptible than horses or swine because cud chewing and rumen bacteria help release the cyanide.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The ban extends to all ruminant animals, or mammals that chew their cud.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Standing around chewing the cud, cows don't look especially threatening.’
      • ‘It knelt in the centre of its pen with three woolly, unshorn friends, contentedly chewing the cud.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As you can see, they're all very quiet, laying down there on their beds, chewing their cud, very relaxed and tame.’
      • ‘When looking at the herd 3 hours after milking, 70% should be lying down or chewing their cud.’
    • 2Think or talk reflectively.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 even chewed the cud with two (of the very, very many) white-haired older women who seem to frequent Hartington.’
      • ‘I will leave the press to chew its own incomprehensible cud, and address myself only to the movies.’
      • ‘I spent this evening with Polly, Jo and mostly with Sarah, chewing the cud.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 way, especially at length.

      • ‘But my mind is not closed and I have spent many interesting hours chewing the fat with those who come knocking on my door.’
      • ‘But personally, I think the line has been crossed when they pull up a bar stool next to you and start chewing the fat.’
      • ‘You can argue about our latest articles, chew the fat about politics, faith, life and culture, and gab with folk from pretty much everywhere.’
      • ‘Oh yeah, the record itself is pretty much a narrative with its own theory, and obviously I love chewing the fat about it.’
      • ‘There aren't any jokes, just a bunch of normal people chewing the fat.’
      • ‘Sarah came back to mine for coffee and we chewed the rag.’
      • ‘At any rate, we sat down to chew the fat for a while.’
      • ‘He comes across as your next-door neighbour chewing the fat with you, hoping that things will improve with time.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He pulled a player for making a mistake, chewed him out, then hugged him around the neck and kissed him on the cheek.’
      • ‘Morgan had gone back to the house after I'd practically chewed her out and I didn't blame her.’
      • ‘I'm about to chew her out when I glance sideways.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After he returned to the bench, he was chewed out by his coach, who punctuated his displeasure by emphatically grabbing the player's leg.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We talked about the play still, no matter how many times we chewed it over.’
      • ‘As the nation's daily newspaper, we are the forum in which all sides of these big issues are chewed over.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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

    • 1Chew food until it is soft or in small pieces.

      • ‘He worked it around in his mouth, teasing her, then he chewed it up and swallowed it with a satisfied moan.’
      • ‘Sitting next to him at dinner once, I saw him put a large piece of thick salmon skin into his mouth, and chew it up and swallow it.’
      • ‘I picked a shrimp out of the sauce and chewed it up.’
      • ‘This development allowed the animal to breathe at the same time as retaining food in its mouth for longer periods, chewing it up into small pieces for quicker digestion.’
      • ‘Jaime took a bite of his burger and chewed it up then swallowed.’
      • ‘I started in on some of the shrimp to calm myself a bit and chewed it up before responding, ‘Umm… I was thinking I could pay you.’’
      • ‘Our school's meals aren't usually as bad as on TV where they're just brownish slop, but near Christmas and Thanksgiving, I do believe I would rather chew my own food up and mix it together myself.’
      1. 1.1Damage or destroy something as if by chewing.
        ‘the bikes were chewing up the paths’
        • ‘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 transmission was another matter: There were fragments of metal in the gearbox where some of the gears had been chewed up.’
        • ‘The problems were highlighted when 50 wheelie bins in Stewartby had to be removed after a malfunctioning council-owned dust cart chewed them up.’
        • ‘And, as anticipated, the red squirrel population began to decline almost immediately, since its preferred habitat had been chewed up and spat out.’
        • ‘The land has been chewed up and the archaeology has been turned over - it's quite frightening.’
        • ‘Even the most amazing things are chewed up and spat out the next week.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The only difference was that the kelp-beds had been chewed up by molds and scavengers.’
        • ‘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.’
        crush, rumple, screw up, squeeze, compress
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Old English cēowan; related to Dutch kauwen and German kauen.