from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An intimate friend or companion.
  • intransitive verb To be an intimate friend.
  • intransitive verb To display good-natured friendliness.
  • intransitive verb To share the same room, as in a dormitory.
  • noun A chum salmon.
  • noun Bait usually consisting of oily fish ground up and scattered on the water.
  • intransitive verb To scatter such bait in order to lure fish.
  • intransitive verb To lure (fish) with such bait.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A tent; a dwelling.
  • noun One who lodges or resides in the same chamber or rooms with another; a room-mate: especially applied to college students.
  • noun Hence An intimate companion; a crony.
  • To fish with chum.
  • noun In ceramics, a block upon which an unbaked vessel is fitted when attached to the lathe to be turned. See thrown-ware, under pottery.
  • To occupy the same room or chambers with another; be the chum of some one.
  • To put into the same room or rooms with another; put into common quarters.
  • Formerly, in some English prisons, to receive, as a new inmate, by a rough ceremony of initiation, beating him with staves, etc., and making him pay an entrance-fee, the whole being accompanied by masquerading and music: sometimes used with up.
  • noun A bait, consisting usually of pieces of some oily fish, as the menhaden, commonly employed in the capture of bluefish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb United States To occupy a chamber with another.
  • noun A roommate, especially in a college or university; an old and intimate friend.
  • noun [Australia] a recent immigrant.
  • noun United States Chopped pieces of fish used as bait.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A friend; a pal.
  • noun A roommate.
  • verb To share rooms with; to live together.
  • verb To make friends with; to socialize.
  • verb Scotland, informal To accompany.
  • noun fishing A mixture of (frequently rancid) fish parts and blood, dumped into the water to attract predator fish, such as sharks.
  • verb fishing To cast chum into the water to attract fish.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a close friend who accompanies his buddies in their activities
  • noun bait consisting of chopped fish and fish oils that are dumped overboard to attract fish
  • noun a large Pacific salmon with small spots on its back; an important food fish


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Perhaps short for chamber fellow, roommate.
Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1675–85; of uncertain origin, possibly from cham, shortening of chambermate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps from Powhatan.


  • She used the creature far more than Dorothy, as was natural and right enough; and had mounted it that day to escape what she called her chum's "everlasting fiddling."

    Dorothy's Travels

  • The only thing crueler than that would be to coat them in chum and dump them in the great white shark infested waters off of South Africa.

    Think Progress » Who Is Randy ‘Baby Killer’ Neugebauer?

  • The common name chum derives from the Native American Chinook language word for “striped” or “variegated” and is descriptive of the streaks and blotches found on the body of a chum as it nears spawning time.

    Trout and Salmon of North America

  • I called my chum and asked him if Murphy was good for a drink, he replied, "Has he got it?"

    Dangers of the Trail in 1865 A Narrative of Actual Events

  • The lad whom he called his chum, the best of his pals would be gone for ever, in a few hours.

    The Crystal Stopper

  • Then, thinking it was time for Phil to rejoin them, they called their chum's name.

    Dave Porter at Star Ranch Or, The Cowboy's Secret

  • He questioned me about the fate of the Captain Mironoff, whom he called his chum, and often interrupted me by sententious remarks, which, if they did not prove him to be a man well versed in war, showed his natural intelligence and shrewdness.

    Marie; a story of Russian love

  • The maestro of Tuesday's inauguration in his role as executive director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Mr. Beliveau is overseeing the 5,000 portable toilets plus 20 Jumbotron television screens, hundreds of shuttle buses, thousands of VIPs, the distribution of event tickets by armored trucks, and what the Obama staff calls "chum" -- trinkets being peddled to the masses.

    Party Politics: An Impresario

  • He was subject to fits of weariness or caprice, and it was in one of these that he had suddenly left London in the height of the season, and had started for Norway on a yachting cruise with three chosen companions, one of whom, George Lorimer, once an Oxford fellow-student, was now his "chum" -- the Pythias to his Damon, the _fidus Achates_ of his closest confidence.


  • Maybe see if we can get Australia’s permission to coat them in chum and dump them in the shark infested waters off of the Great Barrier Reef?

    Think Progress » Thanks To Obama’s Rejection Of Torture, Abdulmuttalab Has Been Providing Intel On Al Qaeda


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    Clicking on a chumlink—even one on the site of a relatively high-class chummer, like—is a guaranteed way to find more, weirder, grosser chum. The boxes are daisy-chained together in an increasingly cynical, gross funnel; quickly, the open ocean becomes a sewer of chum.

    June 5, 2015

  • "'The Labor party has spent the last two weeks and the better part of the last few months demonising Tony Abbott,' he told ABC television, likening it to a similar campaign against Queensland LNP leader Campbell Newman before the state election earlier this year.

    'They want to destroy his character.'

    Mr Pyne said Mr Abbott was the most experienced 'would-be prime minister' in history.

    'Unfortunately, with the Labor party, when they have their backs to the wall and they've tried everything else, they eventually turn to the chum bucket,' Mr Pyne said."

    - AAP, Labor views 'positive' polls with caution,, 17 Sep 2012.

    September 22, 2012

  • In Alaska, chum is a plentiful species of salmon sometimes referred to as "dog salmon" since they usually end up as food for sled dogs. They are also dried and smoked for human consumption.

    November 5, 2007