Apr 4, 2011


Summary: Chasing down some clues to my break time crossword puzzle today, I came across a word I'd never heard before—chivy, with both its spellings and meanings.

Today was like Christmas in ... April (though I've never heard of such a thing 'til now). Taking a little break in the early evening, I worked a crossword puzzle in the big book of New York Times crossword puzzles that my husband got me last year as a stocking stuffer. It was a challenge! And, of course, I learned a new word:

Chivy (CHIH - vee) - (v.) Alternatively spelled with two Vs, chivvy has two meanings, as well, no matter how you spell it. Most commonly, it means to tease or annoy with persistent, petty attacks—as in, "The guys at the work site continued to chivy and chide each other all day long as a way to pass the time." In its secondary meaning, it means to move or obtain by small maneuvers. Merriam-Webster.com uses this example: "Chivy an olive out of the bottle."

The two definitions have their roots in a common theme. Harassment, or chasing, both come from the word chevy, likely the word that chivy (or chivvy) derived from as early as the 1830s in American English.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010

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