from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A working-class youth, especially one associated with aggression, poor education, and a perceived "common" taste in clothing and lifestyle.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain (see discussion page); probably of Romani origin. Compare Romani chavi ("male child") or chavo, shavo ("female child"), chal ("boy"), chavvy ("mate, friend"); possible cognate with Spanish chaval. See also charva.


  • C. Maoxian: @chav: They had been dealing with the evil for several years before they decided to grow a pair .... chav: It ain't suicide, and it all aint money in life.


  • Phil ElsdonDurham• Polly Toynbee is right in pointing to the social divisiveness caused by the use of the word "chav".

    Letters: On the fault lines of fractured Britain

  • Dr Anna Eleri LivingstoneLondon• While I can agree with much of what Polly Toynbee has to say – especially about Iain Duncan Smith and his friends in the Tory press who peddle the disingenuous nonsense that people are "trapped" on benefits as though cutting benefits would somehow lead to a better living standard – she is mistaken about the meaning and use of the word "chav".

    Letters: On the fault lines of fractured Britain

  • Two years ago, the Fabian Society called for the word "chav" to be banned.

    Vajazzled! Carole Cadwalladr examines how chavs have replaced working class people on Britain's TV

  • I think Russell sorry, Mr. Davies, I don't know him personally occasionally makes the odd miscalculation, usually with his humour - in this case the overuse of the word chav, which is everywhere right now over here, but which I doubt will be so current millenia in the future.

    New Doctor Who

  • But - whether people use the word "chav" or not - there's a deeply distorted, but entirely mainstream, view of class that must also be challenged.

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • A new book claims the word "chav" is helping to reignite class war.

    BBC News - Home

  • His success in the United States has been won with How to Speak English, in which he discusses the meaning of the word "chav" with an American friend, and How To Be English, in which he gives step-by-step instructions on how to make a cup of tea. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • Also, you can tell them ragheads that up here in chav heaven, Mohammmed and Allah make the fuckin tea, that's all.

    End to 'War on Terror' Within Sight

  • An average citizen would think that the area was having an extra bank holiday with all the people milling around all in chav uniform.

    I Can Tell We’re Going To Be Friends « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG


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  • Very interesting, I've never heard that theory before.

    December 30, 2010

  • The origins of the word are interesting, chiefly because nobody really knows where it came from. One argument suggests it stemmed from the Northern English term "charver," pronounced in Northern accents very similarly to "chavver" with a long A - this may then have been adopted by the Southern English as "chav," leaving out the R to mimic the Northern pronunciation.

    There are several theories suggesting it to be an acronym, one of the most common being that it means Council Housed And Violent. Another is that it was used by pupils at Cheltenham College to mean "Cheltenham Average" - however, all of these seem unlikely and are more likely to be backronyms, acronyms invented later for humourous effect.

    One intriguing theory states that it comes from the Romani word "chavi," referring to an urchin or mischievous child and then entered nationwide English use either via "charver" or directly.

    However, as a Yiddish speaker I have wondered if it is related to the Yiddish "chavver," meaning "mate" (as in friend). Many Yiddish words have found their way into English slang, perhaps most notably in the East End of London - for example "kosher," which is commonly used to describe legitimacy and correctness, "nosh" and "chutzpah." Chutzpah is often pronounced with a typical English CH, rather than the Yiddish/Hebrew form which is similar to the CH in Bach - this would also be the case with "chav" if chavver is indeed its root.

    December 28, 2010

  • Chav is a word we use in the UK - it's a young person, probably unemployed or near it, not educated, aggressive, rude and violent for the fun of it.

    August 2, 2009

  • they are chavs

    she dresses like a chav

    slovenly like a chav

    June 10, 2009

  • "Noun. A person, usually of poorly educated, working class origin, who dresses casually in designer sportswear and vulgar jewellery. Chavs are generally viewed as an ignorant under-class with a propensity for criminal or loutish behaviour. Usually derog. Orig. South-west. Popular from early 2000s"


    September 12, 2008

  • Misterpolly's etymology below reeks of spuriosity. The best theory seems to be that it derives from the Romany word chavi, child.

    August 9, 2008

  • There is actually a website about chav towns in England. It is exceedingly negative if not hateful.

    August 9, 2008

  • Sartorially, they do deserve scorn.

    February 8, 2008

  • A scornful expression coined for the lower classes by the ladies of Cheltenham Ladies' School in England. From CHeltenham AVerage.

    February 7, 2008

  • We Scots tend to use the equivalent word "ned".

    April 1, 2007

  • I am shocked that only you have added this word. this must be an american site. it would be rated no 1 on an british word website (if there were one).

    January 25, 2007