phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Chow

Posted by Bob on July 18, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Chow posted by Bob on July 18, 2003

: : I think chow can mean food. Does anyone out there know the origin of why chow means food? Thanks.

: It's almost certainly from the Chinese chao, meaning fried, which shows up in English as chow mein (fried noodles) or chow fun (fried rice). In Pidgin English, chow came to mean food in general, and has persisted in that meaning, at least in the U.S.

Since the word seems to have become popular in the mid-nineteenth C., I think there's a likely connection to the very large number of Chinese workers imported to build the railroads in the Western U.S. at that time.