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 the US for 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 of having this event is so that school friends can come together and chew the fat. That is why it is known as a “reunion.”
- After chewing the fat for about an hour with her, I was able to convince Grandma to go with us.
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 require chewing 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.”
Idiom of the Day
- United States
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
Chewing the fat was supposedly from Indian natives chewing hides to soften it for leather uses.
- Ora Stevens April 9, 2022
Chewing the fat came from when the rich had parties and invited the socialites to polish off all the meat they had stored up – always on the night before lent started! Going to go “chew the fat” referred to eating the meat and socializing. Coincidentally, this is why the Tuesday before Lent begins is called Fat Tuesday. No meat starting Wednesday, so everyone must get fat from eating all the meat they posses in their iceboxes!
- Lisa DStout July 28, 2020
After a big meal with family (usually Sunday dinner), we would chew on the fat left over on our plates while gossiping over the latest news about relatives or friends. Those pieces of fat (such as from pork chops) were always browned and juicy, with the best flavor.
- Old school March 30, 2020