Green’s Dictionary of Slang

chew the cud v.

1. (also chaw one’s cud, chew one’s cud, suck one’s cud) to ponder, to think something over.

[UK]N. Breton Pasquil’s Madcappe in Grosart (1879) I 7/2: The other minstrels may goe chew their cuddes.
[UK]Rowlands Diogenes Lanthorne 7: He chawes the Cud in contemplation of Bonds and Billes.
[UK]J. Cleveland Poem in Character of a London-Diurnall 15: Our dinner was so good, My liquorish Muse cannot but chew the cood.
[UK]‘Basilius Musophilus’ Don Zara Del Fogoy 9: Thus chewing the cud of courage, he rode on in much vexation.
[UK]J. Wilson Cheats I iv: Chew the cud upon this for present.
[UK]Otway Cheats of Scapin II i: Here he comes, mumbling and chewing the Cud.
[UK]Rochester ‘A Ramble in St. James’s Park’ Works (1721) 84: Loath’d and depriv’d, kick’d out of Town, / Into some dirty Hole alone, / To chew the Cud of Misery.
[UK]J. Dunton Night-Walker Oct. 6: We would Chew our Cudd upon the thoughts of past pleasures.
[UK]Swift Tale of a Tub 57: They nightly adjourn to chew the Cud of Politicks.
[UK]Smollett Roderick Random (1979) 331: The person of honour did not think fit to carry on the altercation any further, but seemed to chew the cud of her resentment.
[UK]G. Colman Polly Honeycombe 23: Here, mistress Malapert, stay here, if you please, and chew the cud of disobedience and mischief in private.
[UK]A. Ross Helenore in Wattie Scot. Works (1938) 114: An’ never a look wi’ Lindy did let fa’, / But chaw’d her cood on what she heard an’ saw.
[UK]W. Godwin Caleb Williams (1966) 247: But, as it was, I had no leisure to chew the cud upon misfortunes as they befel me.
[UK]Watty and Meg 2: Some war roarin’, ithers sleepet, / Ithers quietly chewt their cude.
[UK]W. Combe Doctor Syntax, Picturesque (1868) 102/2: We have our pedant tradesmen too, / Who talk as if they something knew, / And learning’s cud pretend to chew.
[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick in England I 23: So I sits down again to chaw the cud of vexation.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 332: Then as they sugared and flavoured their tumblers, they chewed the cud of Sir Moses’s eloquence.
[US] in R.G. Carter Four Brothers in Blue (1978) 15 Dec. 205: Each man [...] industriously chewing the cud of bitter reflection.
[UK]G.R. Sims ‘The Welshman in London’ Dagonet Ditties 128: He sought for a mountain to sit on its brow, / And give off his lay after chewing the cud.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Apr. 24/1: Long journey from the ‘Oxboro’ to Sydney supplies ample opportunity for backers to chew the cud over the rottenness of their end of the game.
[US]S. Lewis Our Mr Wrenn (1936) 101: Mr. Wrenn, chewing and chewing and chewing the cud of thought in his room.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 238: He chewed his cud a second.
[UK]W. Holtby South Riding (1988) 289: Astell was left staring at the ink-splashed table, chewing the bitter cud of self-contempt.
[Aus]D. Davison ‘Return of the Hunter’ in Mann Coast to Coast 108: Lying out in front it had been his habit to go over these things ruminatively, chewing a quiet cud of satisfaction.
[US]E. Dundy Dud Avocado (1960) 104: Zop-zop chewed his cud for a while and then made one of his few utterances.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 112: He had been down in Hose Manning’s room chewin’ on his cud, as he put it.
[US]P. Benchley Lush 53: He sucked his cud and thought of something to say.
[UK]I. Rankin Let It Bleed 121: So Rebus chewed the cud with him.

2. to chew tobacco; thus cud-chewer, one who chews tobacco.

[UK]M. Scott Cruise of the Midge I 220: Donovan was chewing his cud – quid I mean.
[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 192: There are too many cud-chewers and pants-hitchers [...] gyrating around in this —.