chew the fat / shoot the breeze

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Senior Member
- we were chewing the fat, telling stories about the old days.

- we were shooting the breeze, telling stories about the old days.

Do they mean different things to the ears of a native speaker of English?

* Note that dictionaries mark the term "shoot the bull/breeze" as "American English".
  • Shandol

    Senior Member
    Slightly different. Both phrases are defined in Collins Dictionary.

    If you have questions after looking at the definitions, post those questions: Collins Online Dictionary | Definitions, Thesaurus and Translations
    I have already seen some dictionary definitions, however, I'm not sure if I understood that slight difference correctly.

    shoot the breeze

    informal North American
    Have a casual conversation.
    chew the fat (or rag)

    Chat in a leisurely and prolonged way.

    Probably, the only difference is that "chew the fat " is usually done in a prolonged way, unlike "shoot the breeze"! Right?


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I would say that "shoot the breeze" (American English) was to discuss idly matters of little consequence. Whereas "chew the fat" does not necessarily mean it was about inconsequential matters.

    In conversation I think there is little to distinguish these terms. In formal writing choose a more formal way of describing this.

    Formal: We sat around and discussed matters of little importance to us, our families or the world. We were just filling out the time enjoying each others company.

    shoot the breeze in American English

    bat the breeze


    to converse idly about trivial matters
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