American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Botany Thin dry bracts or scales, especially:
- n. Botany The dry bracts enclosing mature grains of wheat and some other cereal grasses, removed during threshing.
- n. Botany The scales or bracts borne on the receptacle among the small individual flowers of many plants in the composite family.
- n. Finely cut straw or hay used as fodder.
- n. Trivial or worthless matter: ignored the picky, unimportant criticisms that were just a lot of chaff.
- n. Strips of metal, foil, or glass fiber with a metal content, cut into various lengths and having varying frequency responses, that are used to reflect electromagnetic energy as a radar countermeasure. These materials, usually dropped from aircraft, also can be deployed from shells or rockets.
- v. To make fun of in a good-natured way; tease.
- v. To engage in playful teasing. See Synonyms at banter.
- n. Good-natured teasing; banter.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The glumes or husks of wheat, oats, or other grain and grasses, especially when separated from the seed by threshing and winnowing.
- n. Straw cut small for the food of cattle.
- n. Figuratively, paltry refuse; worthless matter, especially that which is light and apt to be driven by the wind.
- n. In botany, the scales or bracts which subtend the individual flowers in the heads of many Compositæ.
- n. A name among fishermen for the finer kinds of seaweed.
- To assail with sarcastic banter or raillery; banter; make game of; ridicule; tease; quiz; worry. [Colloq.]
- Synonyms See taunt.
- To use bantering or ironical language by way of ridicule, teasing, or quizzing.
- n. Banter; sarcastic or teasing raillery.
- To cut into chaff. See chaff, n., 2.
- To mix with chaff.
- To furnish with chaff.
- n. The inedible parts of a grain-producing plant.
- n. By extension, any excess or unwanted material, resource, or person; anything worthless.
- n. Loose material dropped from aircraft specifically to interfere with radar detection.
- v. intransitive To use light, idle language by way of fun or ridicule; to banter.
- v. transitive To make fun of; to turn into ridicule by addressing in ironical or bantering language; to quiz.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The glumes or husks of grains and grasses separated from the seed by threshing and winnowing, etc.
- n. Anything of a comparatively light and worthless character; the refuse part of anything.
- n. Straw or hay cut up fine for the food of cattle.
- n. Light jesting talk; banter; raillery.
- n. (Bot.) The scales or bracts on the receptacle, which subtend each flower in the heads of many
Compositæ, as the sunflower.
- v. To use light, idle language by way of fun or ridicule; to banter.
- v. To make fun of; to turn into ridicule by addressing in ironical or bantering language; to quiz.
- n. material consisting of seed coverings and small pieces of stem or leaves that have been separated from the seeds
- n. foil in thin strips; ejected into the air as a radar countermeasure
- v. be silly or tease one another
- Middle English chaf, from Old English ceaf.Possibly alteration of chafe or chaff1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“And the chaff is a great big huge gigantic pile all right!”
“She would open the hankies every morning after her morning prayers and count out fifteen piles of eighteen cents, eighteen being the corresponding number to the Hebrew letters in the word chaff, meaning life.”
“But I do not know whether the habit of uttering ignoble ones in "chaff" does not at last bring the tone of mind down to the low level.”
“Your last argument about the wheat and the chaff is still unconvincing.”
“An effective way to separate the chaff from the wheat is word-of-mouth.”
“Now Nunchucks are illeagal in Masterbachusetts, my paternalistic commonwealth, yet I needed a flail to beat the chaff from the grain I was growing.”
“Then I got to the vertical winding stairwell that forces you to be detected and fight through an army of enemies on your way up these stairs (a camera detects you, and chaff is mysteriously unable to disable it ...)”
“The problem with chaff is that it tends to bury good work.”
“Well, this went on for several weeks, what I think you call chaff, and at last I was allowed to go without the string.”
“For, in talk, his own living personality -- his flashes of fun -- of courtesy -- of "chaff" -- were always there, to do away with what, in the written word, became a difficult strain on attention.”
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