Green’s Dictionary of Slang

chum n.

also chummie, chummy
[17C SE chum, one who lodges in the same college rooms. Presumably f. chamber, poss. abbr. chamber-fellow or chamber-mate, although no proof has been discovered; NB ‘Sl. Terms & the Gypsy Tongue’ in Baily’s Mag. Nov. 1871 suggests origin in Rom. tschummer / Hindi chuma, a kiss ]

1. (also chumbuddy) a close friend, a room-mate [mid-19C+ use is SE, although Hotten (1859) includes it since it is ‘in such frequent use with the lower orders that it demanded a place in this glossary’].

[UK]T. Creech Theocritus Idyllium X 58: [Dedication] To my chum Mr. Hody of Wadham College.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Chum, a Chamber-fellow, or constant Companion.
[UK]N. Ward ‘A Step to Stir-Bitch-Fair’ Writings (1704) 269: A Scholar [...] whisper’d to his Chamber-Fellow, Chum, Chum, tho’ I have the Word of God in my Mouth, to tell thee the Truth on’t, I have a Lyn Devil in my Breeches.
[US]Spectator 5 Nov. n.p.: I shall here present my reader [...] with a letter written by young gentleman of the university to his friend [...] ‘Dear Chum’...
[Ire]K. O’Hara Tom Thumb II iv: Yet thus bereft, / Not one chum left.
[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 275: I had a chum, a very prudent, frugal young lad.
Humours of the Fleet in Ashton 18C Waifs p.280 onwards: When you have a chum, you pay but fifteen pence per week each [F&H].
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 199: He led the fainting Trojans on; / And then produc’d aeneas to / His drunken chums in statu quo.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: A chum, a chamber fellow, particularly at the universities and prisons.
[UK]J. Freeth ‘A Strolling Ballad Singer’s Ramble to London’ Political Songster 6: Where’er we come ... I and my Chum, / Some business have to settle.
[UK]B.H. Malkin (trans.) Adventures of Gil Blas (1822) III 222: He treated all his chums at my expense.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]D. Roberts Sequel to The Military Adventures of Johnny Newcome II 166: Joe and his Chum were not to be admonish’d.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 550: The other may [...] have to chaff his time away with a chum.
[UK]Liverpool Mercury 16 Apr. 6/1: My old chummy, Lord Byron, slaps me on the foot and says to me [etc.].
[Scot]Edinbury Gleaner 7: You are to be my chum.
[UK] ‘Sam Booze’s Funeral’ in Lummy Chaunter 85: His chummies, who were numerous, / To celebrate his dying, / A supper held, so humorous.
[US]T. Haliburton Letter-bag of the Great Western (1873) 21: I have the honour and pleasure of having a most delectable chum, who [...] chews tobacco, spits furiously, talks through his nose, and snores like a Newfoundland dog.
[UK]London Mag. Feb. 14/2: Joined in the tenantcy of Mr. M’Kay’s chambers [...] was MR. MILESIUS MORIARTY O’FLAHERTY, a gentleman who was in almost all respects the very reverse of his ‘chum’.
[Ire] ‘Three Yards A Penny’ Dublin Comic Songster 27: To prison I am going to-morrow – ah me! [...] Locked up with my chum I shall be.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 18 Feb. 2/4: [He] took a seat beside his chummy, long Harry, the quandam Liverpool gawky.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 14 June 2/6: Well you see, messmates, my chummy and I hailed her, when she immediately threw out her grappling irons, and lugged us along.
[US](con. 1843) Melville White-Jacket (1990) 340: Pierre, who had been a chummy of Shenly’s, spent much time in tying the neckerchief in an elaborate bow.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown’s School-Days (1896) 84: Gower – that’s my chum – and I make a fire with paper on the floor after supper generally.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 5/1: One of the ‘guns’ [...] was engaged for some time along with a few ‘chums’.
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 181: ‘A wet day in the country is an awful bore,’ said the doctor, who was just thinking of how certain chums of his in Dublin would spend the day.
[Scot]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 8 Aug. 7/3: Good morning, chummy, you’re enjoying yourself.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 9 May 6/3: John Bramston was there also as Attorney-General, and further that not only were the two men colleagues in the Queensland Ministry, but close friends and chums, actually keeping house together for a long time.
[UK]W.S. Gilbert ‘Etiquette’ Fifty ‘Bab’ Ballads 303: Old chummies at the Charterhouse were Robinson and he!
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Jones’s Alley’ in Roderick (1972) 40: Mrs Aspinall, I ain’t that sort of a bloke, neither is my chum.
[Ind]Civil & Milit. Gaz. (Lahore) 18 Oct. 4/3: Give my love, Bill, to hHmma ole chummy.
[UK]H. Macilwaine Dinkinbar 38: My Uncle Joseph will be at the head station to-morrow night, and his chummies a day later.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 15 Dec. 166: We had become fast chums. [Ibid.] 167: Chummie came to the rescue with ‘Come, dad, don’t tantalise’.
[US]J. Washburn Und. Sewer 46: There is the girl-chum of her own age.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper XL 2 86: I’m just as friendless as you. I haven’t a chum.
[US](con. 1920s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 409: Their pastor is just one of their own chums.
[UK]Film Fun 8 Sept. 1: Stan kissed his college chum instead of the charmer.
[UK]P. Larkin letter 9 Aug. in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 105: Well Chum hers [sic] hoping this finds you in the Pink, as it leaves me at Present.
[UK]K. Amis letter 10 July in Leader (2000) 436: His great chum Leitão.
[US]R. Stone Hall of Mirrors (1987) 77: How about a piece for an old chumbuddy.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 25: I saw you two come in together [...] I thought you were chums.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 141: Jonathan, my partner, my chum.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 103: Your very amusing chum has been trying to persuade the Doctor to take a Living Science Roadshow out to the provinces.
[UK]Observer Mag. 25 Jan. 3: It was very nice of my estimable chum Euan to put me up overnight on the sofa.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 182: [T]he communard chummies discovered that there was no longer a running water supply.

2. (UK Und.) a fellow-prisoner; for Aus. use see new chum n.

[UK]Proceedings at Sessions (City of London) July 171/1: The Prisoner had been my Chum in the Fleet-Prison [...] I had desired the Chamberlain to let me be removed, but the House was then so full that I could not be chum’d elsewhere.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 232: chum: a fellow prisoner in a jail, hulk, &c.; so there are new chums and old chums, as they happen to have been a short or a long time in confinement.
[UK]Morn. Post 21 Oct. 3/3: The prison contains within its walls 109 rooms, 89 of which at present receive chums [...] 8 have no fire-places and are exempt from chummage.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London II 57: ‘The chum,’ replied Dashall, ‘is a partner or bedfellow, a person who has an equal right to all the comforts and conveniences of a room, previously wholly in the possession of one.’ ‘I understand,’ said Bob; ‘that when every room has already one occupant, they accommodate him with a companion.’.
[UK] ‘The Slap-Up Cracksman’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 42: Who would / [...] / Stow a chum within a drag; / Or Norway neckcloth’s knot.
[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 15: I one day missed my labour ‘chum’ from his place in our ‘push’ or gang.

3. (also chummy) a term of friendly address.

[UK]‘Up the Flew’ in Flash Minstrel! in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) I 108: Go along chummy, wide awake chummy, / Up their flue holes go along chum.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 13: Wall, tramp along, chummy.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 151/2: Now, I’ll tell you something, ‘chum’.
[UK]E. Greey Queen’s Sailors III 250: How are you a goin’ to get rid of all your fan-pinners, chummy?
[UK] ‘’Arry on Politics’ in Punch 11 May 205/1: What, Charley, old chummy, what cheer?
[Scot]Dundee Courier 20 Oct. 7/6: Hallo! chummy, what are you up to.
[Aus]H. Nisbet Bushranger’s Sweetheart 201: ‘I want a drink first, by George [...] chummy.’.
[US](con. 1875) F.T. Bullen Cruise of the ‘Cachalot’ 330: Wot cher, chummy; ’ow yer hoppin’ up?
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 58: How’re you making it this morning, chum?
[UK]Marvel XIV:364 Oct. 4: Now, chum, what’s the next move?
[US]S.E. White Blazed Trail 32: ‘Got another letter, chummy,’ said he.
[Can]R. Service ‘The Booby-Trap’ in Ballads of a Bohemian (1978) 572: Ah, Joe! we’ll be pushin’ up dysies... together, old Chummie... good-night!
[UK]P. MacGill The Great Push 82: ‘In much pain, chummy?’ I asked.
[Aus]C.H. Thorp Handful of Ausseys 87: Got a Woodbine, chum?
[Aus]M. Garahan Stiffs 84: Don’t go in there, chummy.
[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 9: ‘You’re all right, chum,’ whispered Bourne.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 73: ‘Come on, Chummy,’ he said, ‘you know as well as I do that it’s against regulations.’.
[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 15: ‘Going to the Smoke?’ yawned the counterman. The driver nodded. ‘Be back here to-night, chum.’.
[UK]News of the World 11 June 3: ‘Where are we, chum?’ demanded one marine in the broadest of Lancashire accents.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 136: I know when I’m licked, chum.
[US]‘Curt Cannon’ ‘Die Hard’ I Like ’Em Tough (1958) 18: This monkey, chum, he’s scratching hell out of . . .
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 108: If you really are an Australian, it’s deportation for you, chum!
[UK]A. Burgess 1985 (1980) 148: What’s your number, cock? [...] All your numbers, chummy.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 61: Come off it, chum. [Ibid.] 99: Don’t get funny with me, chummy.
[UK]Reeves & Mortimer Vic Reeves Big Night Out n.p.: I beg your pardon, old chum.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 268: You got a phone book back there, chum?

4. the vagina [i.e. the ‘friend’ of the penis].

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

5. (Aus.) in WW1, a British soldier.

[Aus](con. WWI) L. Mann Flesh in Armour 90: The Aussies [...] began to chaff and even invite the Chums into the holes.

6. (UK juv., also chum boy, chummer) a male homosexual.

OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 chum, chum boy, chummer, chummy n. (1) Friend, pal, mate (2) slang meaning more often refers to a homosexual or a suspected homosexual. Variations include ‘chummer’ or ‘chum boy’.

7. see new chum n.

In compounds

chum-master (n.)

(UK prison) an official responsible for allotting prisoners to cells, on payment of a fee.

Pamphleteer 6 500: The chum- master proceeds to give tickets on the coffee or second gallery, and so on to the top gallery.
[Aus]Examiner 18 Dec. 4/2: I have in vain applied to the chum-master to take off the aforesaid chum from my room.
[UK]New Monthly Mag. 1 Nov. 464: You had better inquire for the chum-master — one Mr. Colwell — and if your incarceration promises to be of some duration, make the best bargain you can.
chum-ticket (n.)

(UK prison) a paper that on payment of a fee gives a new prisoner the right of a place in a cell.

Pamphleteer 6 476: Whether the fees be paid or not, he receives on demand a chum ticket (as it is called) which is a ticket of admission to some room in the prison.
[Aus]Examiner 18 Dec. 4/1: I was much surprised by a person calling on me with a chum-ticket upon my room.
[UK]London Mag. Apr. 513: The witness gave him what is called a ‘chum ticket,’ by which he became entitled to the use of the room, No. 14, in the third gallery, in common with two other prisoner.
[UK]J. Grant Sketches in London 52: When a prisoner is first confined within the walls, he is entitled to what is termed a ‘chum ticket,’ which is a small piece of paper on which [...] the chum-master writes the name of the party, and the number of the room in which he is to be ‘chummed’.

In phrases

old chum (n.) [opposite of new chum n. (2)]

a veteran.

[Aus]C.P. Hodgson Reminiscences of Aus. 28: The ‘new chum’ is generally employed [...] in collecting the animals. [Ibid.] 366: ‘New Chum,’ in opposition to ‘Old Chum.’ The former ‘cognomen’ peculiarizing the newly-arrived Emigrant; the latter as a mark of respect attached to the more experienced Colonist.
[UK]C. Tomalin Venturesome Tom 135: I decided to leave the rough and tumble mining camp for the amenities of city life at Sydney, being invited thither by an old chum.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988] [...] 147: old chum/hand Experienced person, originally one with early settler experience that made him superior to the new chum. ANZ mid C19+.