phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

"chew the rag"=to chat?

Posted by ESC on March 27, 2004

In Reply to: "Chew the rag"=to chat? posted by Smokey Stover on March 27, 2004

: : Is this phrasal verb commonly used?

: : They "chewed the rage "all night at the highschool reunion.

: Phrasal verb? What have you been reading? It's a phrase, with a verb. Yes, to chat or gab. Or chew the fat, or shoot the bull. SS

From the archives:

CHEW THE FAT - "One guess is that this expression was originally a nautical one: Sailors working their jaws on the tough salt pork rationed out when supplies ran low constantly grumbled about their poor fare while literally chewing the fat." From Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997). Another reference says, ".'Rag (or fat) chewing' we have had since the early 1880's. It was then classed as American Army slang, in Patternson's 'Life in the Ranks.' To my notion, although either expression may have been adopted into army lingo, both are much more likely to have alluded to ladies' sewing circles - to the 'rags,' or cloth, upon which they worked while tongues clattered, or to the 'fat,' or choice morsels of gossip upon which they could feast." From Heavens to Betsy! and Other Curious Sayings by Charles Earle Funk (Harper & Row, New York, 1955).

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