chew the fat
chew the fat
- to have friendly banter for hours on end
- a long and informal conversation with someone
- to gossip with friends at leisure
- 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.
- How nice to see you here. Have a seat and let’s chew the fat for a while.
- 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.
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’.