Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[sham-ee; French sha-mwah] /ˈʃæm i; French ʃaˈmwɑ/
noun, plural chamois, chamoix
[sham-eez; French sha-mwah] /ˈʃæm iz; French ʃaˈmwɑ/ (Show IPA)
an agile, goatlike antelope, Rupicapra rupicapra, of high mountains of Europe: now rare in some areas.
a soft, pliable leather from any of various skins dressed with oil, especially fish oil, originally prepared from the skin of the chamois.
a piece of this leather.
a cotton cloth finished to simulate this leather.
a medium to grayish yellow color.
verb (used with object), chamoised
[sham-eed] /ˈʃæm id/ (Show IPA),
[sham-ee-ing] /ˈʃæm i ɪŋ/ (Show IPA)
to dress (a pelt) with oil in order to produce a chamois.
to rub or buff with a chamois.
Also, chammy, shammy, shamoy (for defs 2–4, 6, 7).
1525-35; < Middle French < Late Latin camox, presumably of pre-Latin orig.; cf. gems Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for chamois
  • In a few high-mountain refuges there are growing populations of chamois and ibex.
  • Use clean chamois or clean soft cloths to dry and buff the surface and prevent streaking.
  • Carefully remove the pyramid shape sample, enclosed in a chamois cover, from its carrying case following the instructions below.
British Dictionary definitions for chamois


/ˈʃæmɪ; French ʃamwa/
noun (pl) -ois
(ˈʃæmwɑː). a sure-footed goat antelope, Rupicapra rupicapra, inhabiting mountains of Europe and SW Asia, having vertical horns with backward-pointing tips
a soft suede leather formerly made from the hide of this animal, now obtained from the skins of sheep and goats
Also called chamois leather, shammy, shammy leather, chammy, chammy leather (ˈʃæmɪ). a piece of such leather or similar material used for polishing, etc
  1. a yellow to greyish-yellow colour
  2. (as modifier): a chamois stamp
verb (transitive)
to dress (leather or skin) like chamois
to polish with a chamois
Word Origin
C16: from Old French, from Late Latin camox of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for chamois

1550s, "Alpine antelope;" 1570s, "soft leather," originally "skin of the chamois," from Middle French chamois "Alpine antelope" (14c.), from Late Latin camox (genitive camocis), perhaps from a pre-Latin Alpine language that also produced Italian camoscio, Spanish camuza, Old High German gamiza, German Gemse (though some of these might be from Latin camox). As a verb, "to polish with chamois," from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
chamois in the Bible

only in Deut. 14:5 (Heb. zemer), an animal of the deer or gazelle species. It bears this Hebrew name from its leaping or springing. The animal intended is probably the wild sheep (Ovis tragelephus), which is still found in Sinai and in the broken ridges of Stony Arabia. The LXX. and Vulgate render the word by camelopardus, i.e., the giraffe; but this is an animal of Central Africa, and is not at all known in Syria.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for chamois

(species Rupicapra rupicapra), goatlike animal, belonging to the family Bovidae (order Artiodactyla), native to the mountains of Europe.

Learn more about chamois with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for chamois

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for chamois

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with chamois

Nearby words for chamois