chew the fat

chew the fat

Meaning

  • to have friendly banter for hours on end
  • a long and informal conversation with someone
  • to gossip with friends at leisure

Example Sentences

  1. I’ve been meaning to get a hold of my friends from US since quite a while, if I can manage to do that after the party then I’ll go and chew the fat with them at our regular hangout.
  2. How nice to see you here. Have a seat and let’s chew the fat for a while.
  3. The whole purpose for having this event is so that school friends can come together and chew the fat. That is why it is known as a reunion.

Origin
Chewing the fat is speculated to be something that was done at leisure by the North American Indians. Farmers in Britain would chew on pork fat when sitting idle or chatting with other farmers. It is also speculated to be an activity that sailors would do. They would have hardened and salted animal fat which would provide nutrients when on a voyage but would be required to be chewed for a long time. This became a routine activity where friends would gossip and thus from the literal meaning it is now used metaphorically. There is no evidence to support this speculation though.

Another speculation is the fact that the phrase originates from the actual movement of the mouth when chewing fat which resembles when friends get together to gossip. Both activities require the mouth to move for a long time. In 1885, J Brunlees Patterson used it in his literary work called ‘Life in the Ranks of the British Army in India’.

C 6 Comments

6 Comments

AuthorLilly writes on 16th October 2017

Thank you! this was so helpful for my class!

AuthorAnonymous writes on 24th September 2017

I want chew someone out

AuthorTrayson writes on 19th April 2017

Playing chicken

AuthorBen writes on 28th January 2017

Thank you for posting this. While the grammar is mostly correct, in Example Sentences the last sentence has no period before another sentence.

AuthorIdioms.in Team writes on 8th October 2016

Dear @Camron, thank you very much for letting us know the error in origin.
We’ve corrected it and users’ contribution is highly appreciated, always.

AuthorCamron writes on 8th October 2016

Its chewing the fat not chewing of fat (origin).

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