Definition of chivvy in US English:


(also chevy, chivy)


[with object]British
  • Tell (someone) repeatedly to do something.

    ‘an association that chivvies government into action’
    • ‘Presumably to chivvy things along, the Chief Justice says he has provided the working party with a supporting secretariat supplied by the Department of Justice.’
    • ‘When we speak, he addresses me like a slightly harried father chivvying a child.’
    • ‘Parents must resist the temptation to chivvy the child along and tell them not to be silly - their fear and apprehension is very real to them.’
    • ‘He said: ‘He used his significant influence with the Church of England to chivvy us all, Anglicans and others, into getting on with some really creative shared actions.’’
    • ‘The action plan he has produced will involve thoroughly cleaning the school, chivvying students to get to school and lessons on time and encouraging them to take pride in the school and their work.’
    • ‘Asked if he would like to take a samurai sword to his critics, he said: ‘Critics are good - they chivvy us along.’’
    • ‘Eliza resolutely pulled and chivvied her friends towards the taxi rank.’
    • ‘Gathering supporters as he went, he chivvied the Neapolitan army out of Sicily and crossed the Straits of Messina on 22 August with the help of the Royal Navy.’
    • ‘To recap the latest episode, the authors have stooped to the hoary old plot device of a startling newspaper revelation to chivvy the drama along.’
    • ‘It'll get you there all right, but don't bother chivvying it.’
    • ‘I don't have time to absorb much, though: some white-coated women and Dr Stone chivvy me towards an uncomfortable-looking chair.’
    • ‘They chivvied local businesses for cash backing.’
    • ‘He sent out trusted assistants to make the local arrangements, chivvied them if they did not make fast enough progress, and belaboured officials who prevaricated or objected.’
    • ‘As long as he was doing something, or surveying an area of a plan, he would be quite happy and his mind would be off chivvying his brother about quick ways to turn stolen silver into spendable cash.’
    • ‘If you are owed money by people following some sponsored event, keep chivvying them to ensure that they all pay up.’
    • ‘Tamora chivvied them into the passageway, and they began to run again, Cheyenne's ragged breathing echoing off the walls as she fell further and further behind.’
    • ‘Wine, wheat, sausages, silk - these were as important to della Rovere as chivvying Michelangelo to finish the sculptures for her father's tomb or commissioning expensive tapestries for her walls.’
    • ‘He said: ‘Umpires should be chivvying the players about slow over rates and there are still a lot of unnecessary drinks breaks.’’
    • ‘I imagine Stuart Law will play a leading role in chivvying people along.’
    • ‘I've stared at someone's still-wet hair on a cramped train for a few minutes, and by the time I'm at the top of the escalators my mind has had a chance to re-engage and chivvy itself along.’
    nag, badger, hound, harass, harry, keep after, keep on at, go on at, pester, plague, torment, persecute, goad, annoy, bother
    View synonyms


Late 18th century: probably from the ballad Chevy Chase, celebrating a skirmish (probably the battle of Otterburn, 1388) on the Scottish border. Originally a noun denoting a hunting cry, the term later meant ‘a pursuit’, hence the verb ‘to chase, worry’ (mid 19th century).