Thursday, 17 April 2014

Chaw - Chewing Dumb

A vulgarly chawing giraffe
(photo by Christian Scheja)


Verb. Now colloquial & dialectical. Late Middle English.
[Variant of CHEW verb: compare with CHOW verb.]

1 verb trans & intrans. Chew, now especially without intending to swallow and in a vulgar manner. LME

1(b) verb trans. Bite (a bullet) to make it jagged. Chiefly as chawed participial adjective. M17-M19

2 verb trans. figurative. Brood over, ruminate on. M16

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's vulgar chewing; I've italicised the word vulgar from the OED's definition because it's so fitting. To this day, I've remembered the moment from years ago that I met two people that chawed on gum constantly throughout our introduction, with open mouths and vapid eyes, and I don't think I've ever forgiven them for their vulgar mastications.

Chaw - is it not the most perfect word for something so stomach-churningly vulgar?

Do please leave your most masticatory comments in the box below.


  1. Chaw is indeed an excellent word. Growing up in the boonies of County Mayo in the 80s, EVERYONE ate with their mouth open. All the kids at school, all the friends of my parents and their families, everyone. It was how you ate. I stood out so much that sometimes kids would mimic my lack of chawing. One kid even said that I ate with my mouth closed because I was English!

    1. That's really funny.

      "You FREAK! Look at that limey closed-mouthed chewing thing he does!"

  2. You always have great images to illustrate your words. Kudos to you.

    1. Cheers, Mike. I spend quite a bit of time looking for good pictures, so it's nice to know they're appreciated : o )

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