Green’s Dictionary of Slang

chew the fat v.

[rhy. sl. = have a chat]

1. (also chaw the fat, chow the fat, shoot the fat) to converse, to talk something over; thus chew-the-fat n., a garrulous person.

[UK]J. Orr ‘To the Potatoe’ in Poems on Various Pubjects 36: The weed we smoke, an’ chow the fat o’.
[UK]B. Patterson Life in the Ranks 124: Others indulge in the various diversions of whistling, singing, arguing the point, chewing the rag, or fat.
[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.].
[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 162: No need to chew the fat about it.
[UK]Leamington Spa Courier 20 Sept. 7/1: There are a great many tramps staying in this district at the present time [...] When we are not worrying the natives we are ‘chewing the fat’ (talking big ) in the ‘kip’ house.
[US]H.A. Franck Zone Policeman 88 112: ‘What’s the sense o’ me tryin’ to chew the fat in French?’ asked Renson, with tears in his voice.
[UK]T. Burke Nights in Town 188: Come on, old chew-the-fat, give us a hand.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 293: Jesus, I had to laugh at Pisser Burke taking them off chewing the fat and Bloom with his but don’t you see? and but on the other hand.
[UK]P. Marks Plastic Age 288: The monthly meetings were nothing but ‘bull fests,’ or as one cynical member put it, ‘We wear a gold helmet on our sweaters and chew the fat once a month’.
[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 113: They all started [...] chewin’ the fat about what kind o’ sport they’d ’ad.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Old Doll’s House’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 65: He is sitting there [...] chewing the fat with the old doll.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 215: All I do is play solitary and chew the fat with the screws all day.
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 76: We chewed the fat a while longer.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 67: The World driver likes to shoot a little fat.
[UK]I. Fleming For Your Eyes Only (1962) 175: This ain’t no time for chewing the fat.
[UK]P. Boyle All Looks Yellow to the Jaundiced Eye 79: Laughed up her sleeve while you argued and chawed the fat.
[US]J. Sayles Union Dues (1978) 366: I’m not gonna stand here, the fuckin blizzard, an chew the fat with yuz.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 114: There was a photo of her on the front page of the Sydney Herald with a black doily in her head, chewing the fat with His Holiness.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 103: It feels perfectly proper to be stood here [...] chewing the fat with Tom Baker.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 21 Apr. 17: I was sitting down chewing the fat with this chubby wannabe rapper.
[UK](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 44: We go intae the Central and start chewing the fat.

2. to complain; to be resentful.

[US]Van Loan ‘Playing Even with Obadiah’ in Old Man Curry 59: Aw, what’s the good of chewing the fat? [...] Let’s not have any arguments, boys.
[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 49: What are you chewing the fat about? [...] Can’t you take an ordinary telling-off without starting to grouse about it?
[UK](con. 1914–18) Brophy & Partridge Songs and Sl. of the British Soldier.
[UK]J. Curtis You’re in the Racket, Too 111: Still no sense in chewing the fat about something that had never even happened.
[UK]E. North Nobody Stops Me 185: I caught my thoughts up. That sort of fat made bad chewing.