Definition of chew in US English:



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

    • ‘‘Sleight of hand,’ he explained between chews.’
    • ‘‘I think she's gonna score,’ said Mars between chews.’
    • ‘Robin spat through chews, ‘It's mighty tasty.’’
    • ‘In fact I can't go half a mile on the car without a chew.’
    • ‘Through the gap, I turned to see a seal having a gentle chew.’
    • ‘‘Or an old friend that wants your body,’ Andy mumbled between chews, glancing out of the window.’
    • ‘They say the bigger the apple the juicier the chew.’
    • ‘He's going to have a good chew on the marrow and it gives him something to hold, he said.’
    • ‘Her huge lips smacked together with each chew of gum that gave off a putrid, sickening watermelon stench.’
    • ‘Most people today swallow their food after giving it one or two chews, and it enters the intestines very hard.’
    • ‘The bulldozer driver gives a quick chew of his gum and slams in the clutch.’
    nip, snap, chew, munch, nibble, gnaw
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    1. 1.1 Something other than food that is meant for chewing.
      ‘a dog chew’
      ‘a chew of tobacco’
      • ‘So, chucking her a pork based chew, I picked up my keys and ran to David.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To help keep dog's teeth in tip top shape, give them rawhide chews to gnaw on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Another up and coming illegal meat is known as ‘welly meat’ which is a hide chew.’
      • ‘During playtime, the purebred German shepherd will run circles around anyone wearing sealskin and whine for a chew.’
      • ‘Besides being fed anything from dog chews to porridge, he is also allowed to sleep at the foot of her bed.’
      • ‘Next, they plan to test which versions of the chew toys dogs like best.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Later on, you can spend hours finding fun toys, dog chews, and dog costumes for your new best canine friend.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was smacking loudly on a chew of gum as she went to give her son a bear hug and a kiss.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Smokeless tobacco - spit tobacco, chew, snuff or dip - is just as dangerous.’
      • ‘He does get the regular assortment of dog treats: greenies, rawhide chews, dog biscuits, etc.’
      • ‘Nontobacco chews and pouches or herbal chews also may help curb your cravings.’
      quid, twist, plug, chew
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  • chew the fat (or rag)

    • informal Chat in a leisurely way, especially at length.

      • ‘At any rate, we sat down to chew the fat for a while.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You can argue about our latest articles, chew the fat about politics, faith, life and culture, and gab with folk from pretty much everywhere.’
      • ‘But my mind is not closed and I have spent many interesting hours chewing the fat with those who come knocking on my door.’
      • ‘Sarah came back to mine for coffee and we chewed the rag.’
      • ‘But personally, I think the line has been crossed when they pull up a bar stool next to you and start chewing the fat.’
      • ‘They arrived and chewed the fat about football, namely Kildare football.’
      • ‘I am meeting Peter for coffee next week but that's just to catch up and chew the fat.’
      • ‘He comes across as your next-door neighbour chewing the fat with you, hoping that things will improve with time.’
      chat, talk, converse, speak to each other, discuss things, have a talk, have a chat, have a tête-à-tête, have a conversation
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Phrasal Verbs

  • chew someone out

    • Reprimand someone severely.

      ‘he chewed me out for being late’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He pulled a player for making a mistake, chewed him out, then hugged him around the neck and kissed him on the cheek.’
      • ‘I figured they'd be more likely to talk to me if I gave them an excuse to chew me out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yeah, I know I'm totally beautiful and could do better - my mother already called me and chewed me out.’
      • ‘I was just livid all day long at the way they chewed me out.’
      • ‘Morgan had gone back to the house after I'd practically chewed her out and I didn't blame her.’
      • ‘After he returned to the bench, he was chewed out by his coach, who punctuated his displeasure by emphatically grabbing the player's leg.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It doesn't appear that they could afford the luxury of chewing it over in the abstract and offering peer review services.’
      • ‘The others began to join in the discussion, chewing ideas over.’
      • ‘Gabriel chewed this new information over one last time before letting out a breath.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But now he had a tricky decision to make and no one to chew it over with.’
      • ‘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?’’
      • ‘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.’
      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
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  • chew something up

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He worked it around in his mouth, teasing her, then he chewed it up and swallowed it with a satisfied moan.’
      • ‘Jaime took a bite of his burger and chewed it up then swallowed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’’
      1. 1.1Damage or destroy something as if by chewing.
        ‘the bikes were chewing up the paths’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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 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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The only difference was that the kelp-beds had been chewed up by molds and scavengers.’
        • ‘Even the most amazing things are chewed up and spat out the next week.’
        crumple, crumple up, crunch, crunch up, crush, rumple, screw up, squash, squash up, twist, twist up, mash, mash up, squeeze, compress, chew, chew up
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Old English cēowan, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch kauwen and German kauen.