to chew the fat

Click below to listen to the phrase.


Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to gossip

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

To chew the fat is to make light conversation, small talk or gossip.

The expression first appeared in literature in 1885 and is said to come from sailors who would chew hardened fat, whilst taking a break from their work and chatting.

French translation

bavarder, tailler une bavette

How NOT to translate : *mâcher la graisse


Examples in context

‘Davis Cup : Leon Smith close to decision over Ward & Edmund

Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon Smith says he has "a lot to think about" over whether to pick James Ward or Kyle Edmund as the second singles player for next week’s final.

"I chew the fat with certain people at length over it," Smith told BBC Radio 5 live.

Edmund, ranked 99 in the world, won the Buenos Aires Challenger clay-court tournament last Sunday.’

BBC Sport, 19 November 2015


‘Taste of New York

There is little doubt that restaurateur Russell Norman is in the right career.

Nearly 20 years on from resigning as a teacher, Norman is in his element, with a string of restaurants – including the New York-style Spuntino – and a new cookbook to his name.

Happy to chew the fat about food all day, he regularly "fills up notebooks" with menu inspiration, and jokes that for someone who cooks Italian food, his mastery of the language is limited to food vocabulary – rather than "asking for directions to the train station".’

Aberdeen Press and Journal, 24 November 2015


Everyday usage

We have very strict deadlines for this project, we can’t afford to waste time chewing the fat.

Let’s get together for a coffee, chew the fat, and talk about how we can work together in the future.

b) to eat snacks

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) to take long walks

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

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