chew the fat


verb (used with object)
to crush or grind with the teeth; masticate.
to crush, damage, injure, etc., as if by chewing (often followed by up ): The faulty paper feeder chewed the letters up.
to make by or as if by chewing: The puppy chewed a hole in my slipper.
to meditate on; consider deliberately (often followed by over ): He chewed the problem over in his mind.
verb (used without object)
to perform the act of crushing or grinding with the teeth.
Informal. to chew tobacco.
to meditate.
an act or instance of chewing.
something chewed or intended for chewing: a chew of tobacco; taffy chews.
Verb phrases
chew out, Slang. to scold harshly: The sergeant chewed out the recruits.
chew the fat, Informal. to converse at length in a relaxed manner; chat: They liked to sit around chewing the fat. Also, chew the rag.

before 1000; Middle English chewen, Old English cēowan; cognate with Old High German kiuwan (German kauen)

chewer, noun
unchewed, adjective
well-chewed, adjective

chews, choose. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
chew (tʃuː)
1.  to work the jaws and teeth in order to grind (food); masticate
2.  to bite repeatedly: she chewed her nails anxiously
3.  (intr) to use chewing tobacco
4.  slang chew the fat, chew the rag
 a.  to argue over a point
 b.  to talk idly; gossip
5.  the act of chewing
6.  something that is chewed: a chew of tobacco
[Old English ceowan; related to Old High German kiuwan, Dutch kauwen, Latin gingīva a gum]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. ceowan "to bite, chew," from W.Gmc. *keuwjanan, from PIE base *gjeu- "to chew." To chew (someone) out is military slang from World War II. Chewing gum is 1850, Amer.Eng., originally hardened secretions of the spruce tree.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

chew the fat

Also, chew the rag. Chat in a friendly, leisurely way, as in Let's get together for coffee and chew the fat, or John and Dave spend hours just chewing the rag. Before the 1880s in Britain, chew the fat meant "to grumble or complain," and chew the rag also has been used in this way. Today both expressions are largely synonyms for a friendly talk or gossip session. Why this idiom uses fat and rag is not known, but some speculate that fat refers to juicy items of gossip and rag to ladies' sewing circles and the cloth they worked on while chatting.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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