A chaw with the mayor

wangcblg

Member
Chinese
Hi i am reading following sentence and cannot figure out what real meaning of shaw here. please help. Thank you.

“Here, court felt like hitting the town barbershop for a chaw with the mayor.”

Excerpt From
Special Circumstances
Sheldon Siegel
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    "Chaw" is probably a mis-spelling of "chat". He wanted to have a chat with (a conversation with) the mayor.

    If the setting is old, it is possible that "have a chaw with" means "sit around chewing tobacco with". Of course the meaning is "have a conversation with".

    I don't know any meaning for "a shaw".
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    :confused::eek: That sentence can be found online in previews of the novel Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster, and the novel Distant Relations by Rebecca Forster, and the novel Severed Relations by Rebecca Forster!
     

    wangcblg

    Member
    Chinese
    mm, chaw is indeed chewing tobacco as a dictionary generally defines. But i never see anyone to have a chaw in barbershop. :0. So chaw=chat seems a good fit.
     

    wangcblg

    Member
    Chinese
    As a second language learner, I thought English dictionaries should have all accurate definitions I am able to look up. Apparently it is not the case. Thank you all. I feel so lucky I come to this place.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    My guess is that it's a short reference to the idiom "chewing the fat."
    WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2022
    chew (cho̅o̅),v.t.
    9. Informal Terms, Idioms chew the fat, to converse at length in a relaxed manner;
    chat:They liked to sit around chewing the fat.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    As a second language learner, I thought English dictionaries should have all accurate definitions I am able to look up. Apparently it is not the case.
    I disagree.

    chaw - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    chew - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    Doesn't your language have phrases that were used in one region, 100 years ago, but are not used today?
    And do modern dictionaries list every such phrase, even if they aren't commonly used today? They do not. They list phrases used in 2020. But a novel (which takes place 100 years ago, in that region) might use words and phrases used there and then, in order to seem authentic.

    In the US (especially in the "wild west"), back in the 1800s, "chewing tobacco" was much more common than smoking tobacco. Every public place (bar, restaurant, barber shop) had "spittoons" where people would spit out tobacco-filled saliva. Nowadays in the US, smoking tobacco is more commmon and these places have "ash trays". It was common (back then) for men to spend time chatting (especially in barber shops) while they were all chewing tobacco. Sometimes they did this for hours.
    Here, court felt like hitting the town barbershop for a chaw with the mayor.
    Here "having a chaw with the mayor" means spending time with the mayor chewing tobacco (doesn't everyone?) and at the same time chatting with the mayor.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    If you put chaw into the Dictionary and thread title search box and scroll down, you'll also be led to this previous thread chaw-and-spit, which is helpful - though not as helpful as doji's post immediately above:):thumbsup:
     

    wangcblg

    Member
    Chinese
    I disagree.

    chaw - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    chew - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    Doesn't your language have phrases that were used in one region, 100 years ago, but are not used today?
    And do modern dictionaries list every such phrase, even if they aren't commonly used today? They do not. They list phrases used in 2020. But a novel (which takes place 100 years ago, in that region) might use words and phrases used there and then, in order to seem authentic.

    In the US (especially in the "wild west"), back in the 1800s, "chewing tobacco" was much more common than smoking tobacco. Every public place (bar, restaurant, barber shop) had "spittoons" where people would spit out tobacco-filled saliva. Nowadays in the US, smoking tobacco is more commmon and these places have "ash trays". It was common (back then) for men to spend time chatting (especially in barber shops) while they were all chewing tobacco. Sometimes they did this for hours.

    Here "having a chaw with the mayor" means spending time with the mayor chewing tobacco (doesn't everyone?) and at the same time chatting with the mayor.
    The sentence i quoted is from contemporary novel “
    “Hostile Witness” by Rebecca Forster
    The story happened at the time of Lexus car and cell phone and around LA, CA. I am not sure people still chew tobacco and chat in a barbershop down there?
     

    wangcblg

    Member
    Chinese
    Perhaps the point is that the court felt (a) relaxed and (b) old-fashioned?

    (Didn't you say the sentence was from:

    ?)
    I did, but the quoted sentence from “ Hostile Witness” by Rebecca Forster, I realized now. I have an e-book of 4 novels from different authors. sorry for the confusion.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    The sentence i quoted is from contemporary novel “
    “Hostile Witness” by Rebecca Forster
    The story happened at the time of Lexus car and cell phone and around LA, CA. I am not sure people still chew tobacco and chat in a barbershop down there?
    The character Josie Baylor-Bates lives in a small town in the beginning of the book, when the talk about "chaw" takes place. Chewing tobacco seems to still be popular in some places of the US, and in a small town a barbershop might be the best place to meet the mayor for a chat.
    Chewing tobacco - Wikipedia

    Off-topic: One of the larger providers of different types of smokeless tobacco products to the world, including the US, is a Swedish company.
     

    wangcblg

    Member
    Chinese
    The character Josie Baylor-Bates lives in a small town in the beginning of the book, when the talk about "chaw" takes place. Chewing tobacco seems to still be popular in some places of the US, and in a small town a barbershop might be the best place to meet the mayor for a chat.
    Chewing tobacco - Wikipedia

    Off-topic: One of the larger providers of different types of smokeless tobacco products to the world, including the US, is a Swedish company.
    I like this explanation.👍😀
     
    Chewing tobacco seems to still be popular in some places of the US, and in a small town a barbershop might be the best place to meet the mayor for a chat.

    When a writer wants to convey an image of small-town slow pace and hominess, she may resort to old-fashioned-sounding phrases that a native speaker would instinctively "get" - even if the actual words didn't quite make sense - but would puzzle a non-native speaker.

    I doubt that Ms. Forster was thinking specifically about chewing tobacco but rather wanted to give a sense of the sort of relaxed, lengthy and meandering chats that supposedly happen in small-town barbershops. (An American reader of a certain age - Ms. Forster is 70 - will immediately think of Andy Griffith in Floyd's barbershop, an image that she probably had in mind.) The word "chaw" could certainly be related to tobacco, but it's also a portmanteau of "chat" and "jaw" so it sounds like a word for aimless gabbing. To me, the sentence is vivid and evocative.
     
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