Main definitions of chi-chi in US English:

: chi-chi1chi-chi2

chi-chi1

adjective

  • Attempting stylish elegance but achieving only an overelaborate pretentiousness.

    ‘the chi-chi world of Manhattan cultural privilege’
    • ‘During the Stock Show in January I wouldn't have thought twice about seeing someone dressed in such a fashion standing in a chichi grocery store.’
    • ‘This arcane coffee drink was once the stuff of mystery, to be found only in chichi Italian restaurants, formulated by cagey old waiters wrestling with giant copper kettles that hissed like contemptuous dragons.’
    • ‘Intrepid shoppers know that it's possible to land a bargain anywhere, even in one of Madison Avenue's most chichi boutiques.’
    • ‘A $7,000 titanium mountain bike with a smart suspension design and gobs of chichi parts is going to ride, well, flawlessly.’
    • ‘It seems like every magazine I flip through, every department store ad I notice, and just about every chichi woman I see is going loco over logos.’
    • ‘For a visit to luxury land, time travel back to the glorious age of Art Deco in this chichi restaurant that overlooks the lush lobby of Hotel de la Montagne.’
    • ‘Various chichi chefs, meanwhile, join in claims that biotech fish are too unnatural for their clientele.’
    • ‘He abhors ‘extremely clever chichi writing’; language needs to be ‘clear and specific’, ‘with the punctuation in the right places’.’
    • ‘Yesterday when I brought out a platter of fancy cheeses, chichi crackers, and sliced pears for dessert R. was both astonished and delighted.’
    • ‘Despite their rather chichi digs, Kingsley leaves early each morning to dig ditches and run a convenience store - menial, undignified tasks.’
    • ‘Whereas other top hotels err on the chichi side, this one, opened in November 1998, is more pared-down, using natural materials with a flow of water, space and light, and an earthy colour scheme inspired by spices.’
    • ‘Knowing that Gwen is tall made it easy to spot her as I breezed through the chichi lobby.’
    • ‘A dinner at a really chichi place and an opportunity to see what else was out there is all he wanted.’
    • ‘For weeks, locals have been peering through the windows of Restaurant Bernard, trying to figure out just what this chichi eatery/bar is doing in such a low-key location.’
    • ‘Belgian influences, on the other had, are confined to a couple of avant-garde fashion designers and a few chichi restaurants in New York, so this is likely to remain a fad.’
    • ‘Yet the overall atmosphere of San Miguel is not remotely of a chichi American town, nor even is it as spruce as neighbouring colonial cities.’
    • ‘I'd been at a party for the Puerto Rico delegation at a chichi Boston club earlier in the evening, which featured a live band, lots of dancing and a buffet of Puerto Rican food.’
    • ‘The Duro factory churns out chichi paper bags, sold for a buck at the ubiquitous gift shops that dot suburban shopping malls almost everywhere north of the border.’
    • ‘I have 6 or 7 books to read, a shady tree to sit under, great company, and it turns out that Saint-Remy is like the Hampstead of Provence; more chichi shops and restaurants than we'll get through in a week.’
    • ‘An innocuous ruin such as this could be a real moneymaker if planning permission was secured to turn it into a small development of chichi apartments.’
    affected, ostentatious, chichi, showy, flashy, tinselly, conspicuous, flaunty, tasteless, kitschy
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noun

  • Pretentious and overelaborate refinement.

    ‘the relentless chi-chi of late-eighties dining’
    • ‘‘In the eyes of the world, Paris is a very beautiful city, a romantic, sexy city, but when you come here now it is still romantic and still very beautiful, but it has lost some of its chichi with women,’ he said.’
    • ‘Their new credo: you can be first class and cook with a highly personal style even ‘without chichi and tralala’.’
    ostentation, ornamentation, decoration, embellishment, fanciness, fuss, chichi, garnishing, garnishment, gilding, excess
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 20th century (in the sense ‘showiness or pretentious object’): from French, of imitative origin.

Pronunciation

chi-chi

/ˈCHēˌCHē/

Main definitions of chi-chi in US English:

: chi-chi1chi-chi2

chi-chi2

noun

US
vulgar slang

Origin

1960s: military slang, of Japanese origin.

Pronunciation

chi-chi

/ˈCHēˌCHē//ˈtʃiˌtʃi/