1. (US, also chaw up) to mangle, to get the better of, to surpass, to destroy; often as chawed (up) adj. (cf. chew up v. (1)).
|Charcoal Sketches (1865) 43: I’ll chaw up any indewidoowal that’s fairly my match.|
|Cork Examiner 16 Sept. 4/4: I’ve 3,000 acres, two sugar plantations, 150 negurs, and I reckon I can chaw up the best man in this town.|
|Streaks of Squatter Life 63: I heerd Tom Jones swar he’d ‘chaw me up, ef an inch big of me was found in them diggins in the mornin’.|
|Western Times 25 Oct. 5/2: The Lloydites think £100 will be sufficient to enable them to ‘chaw up’ all opposition.|
|Twice Round the Clock 94: Pounding away [...] and, to use an Americanism, ‘chawing up’ the ministry at a tremendous rate.|
|Artemus Ward, His Book 143: When the fair Elizy recovered from her delight at meetin Moses, she said — ‘How hast the battle gonest? Tell me!’ ‘We chawed ’em up – that’s what we did!’ said the bold Moses.|
|Big Bonanza (1947) 289: The two of us could chaw up the town – we’d be a terror to it.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Mar. 14/2: While Donald Dinnie and Graham were on the war-path in the back-blocks, rumours by the score used to reach Sydney as to the manner in which the pair said they could chaw up Larry Foley, either with or without the ‘mittens’, Graham going so far, it was alleged, as to state that he could put our champion through with one hand only.|
|‘The Rocks Push Eisteddfod’ in Bird o’ Freedom (Sydney) in Larrikins (1973) 88: Such a biffing push of biffers ne’er before were on that beach, / Such ‘chawing’ and such ‘jobbing’ and such ‘give ’em Bondi’ tricks.|
|Sheffield Eve. Teleg. 18 Dec. 3/1: The whole fleet [...] which a few of our best battleships could ’chaw up’ without much difficulty.|
|Stiffs 251: The crowd [...] at once assembled to watch the ‘chawing up’.|
2. (US campus) to trick, to hoax.
|Dartmouth IV 117: A Junior cracked a joke on me, when all standing round, shouted in great glee, ‘Chawed! Freshman chawed!’ [...] I didn’t understand, when a fellow is used up, he is said to be chawed [DA].|
|DN III 298: Chaw, v. tr., [...] to hack or guy one.|
3. (US) used in oaths, e.g. chaw me up if...
|Cork Examiner 3 Dec. 4/4: Chaw me if liberty ain’t a long sight better off in the hands of that old possum Nicholas.|
|DN III:iv 298: chaw, v. To get the better of in a contest of obscene repartee.‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in|
|Vermont Hist. new ser. 27 129: Well, I’ll be sweetly chawed up! [DARE].|
4. to arrest; thus chawry goods, stolen property.
|Lowspeak 37: Chaw – to arrest, particularly pickpockets on the underground. Chawry goods – stolen property.|
SE in slang uses
see chew the fat v.