AskDefine | Define chaff

Dictionary Definition



1 material consisting of seed coverings and small pieces of stem or leaves that have been separated from the seeds [syn: husk, shuck, stalk, straw, stubble]
2 foil in thin strips; ejected into the air as a radar countermeasure v : be silly or tease one another; "After we relaxed, we just kidded around" [syn: kid, jolly, josh, banter]

User Contributed Dictionary



ceaf; akin to Dutch kaf, German Kaff.


  • a RP /tʃæf/|/tʃɑːf/
  • a US /tʃæf/
  • Rhymes with: -æf


  1. The inedible parts of a plant whose seeds are eaten as grain.
    To separate out the chaff, early cultures tossed baskets of grain into the air and let the wind blow away the lighter chaff.
  2. By extension, any excess or unwanted material, resource, or person; anything worthless.
    There are plenty of good websites on the subject, but take care to separate the wheat from the chaff.
  3. Loose material dropped from aircraft specifically to interfere with radar detection.


inedible parts of grain plant
  • Albanian: byk
  • Dutch: kaf
  • German: Spreu, Spelze
  • Hebrew: מוץ
  • Hungarian: pelyva
  • Romanian: pleavă
  • Slovene: pleva
excess or unwanted material
  • Dutch: kaf

Extensive Definition

Chaff ( or /tʃæf/, both to rhyme with "half") is a term from agriculture used for the inedible, dry, scaly protective casings of the seeds of cereal grain. Chaff is a byproduct of grain production and is often used as livestock fodder, ploughed into the soil, or burnt.


From Middle English chaf, from Old English ceaf; related to Old High German cheva meaning husk.
chaff in German: Spelze
chaff in Spanish: Gluma
chaff in Esperanto: Glumo
chaff in French: Glume
chaff in Dutch: Kelkkafje
chaff in Japanese: 籾殻
chaff in Polish: Plewa
chaff in Russian: Мякина
chaff in Thai: แกลบ

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

afterglow, afterimage, air, aluminum foil, badinage, balance, banter, bark, barrack, bones, bran, bric-a-brac, bubble, butt, butt end, candle ends, capsule, case, cattle, chicken feed, chickenshit, chip, cobweb, cork, corn shuck, cornhusk, culm, cut at, deadwood, debris, details, detritus, dig at, dishwater, down, draff, dregs, dregs of society, dump on, dust, end, ether, exchange, fag end, fairy, feather, filings, fleer, flout, flue, fluff, foam, fooling, fooling around, fossil, froth, fun, fuzz, garbage, gash, gibe, gimcrackery, give-and-take, good-natured banter, gossamer, harmless teasing, haze, hogwash, holdover, hull, husk, husks, jab, jab at, jacket, jape, jeer, jest, jive, joke, joking, jolly, josh, joshing, kid, kidding, kidding around, knickknackery, leavings, lees, leftovers, minutiae, mock, mote, needle, odds and ends, offal, offscourings, offscum, orts, palea, parings, peanuts, peel, persiflage, pleasantry, pod, pooh, pooh-pooh, potsherds, put down, put on, raff, rag, ragging, rags, rail at, raillery, rally, rallying, rank out, raspings, razz, refuse, relics, remainder, remains, remnant, residue, residuum, rest, revile, rib, ride, ridicule, riffraff, rind, roach, roast, rubbish, ruins, rump, sawdust, scoff, scourings, scout, scrap iron, scraps, scum, shadow, shards, shavings, shell, shuck, skin, slack, slag, slam, slap at, slop, slops, small beer, small change, sneer, sneer at, sordes, sponge, sport, spume, straw, stubble, stump, survival, sweepings, swill, swinish multitude, swipe, tares, taunt, tease, teasing, thistledown, tinfoil, trace, trash, trifles, trivia, trumpery, twit, twitting, vermin, vestige, wastage, waste, waste matter, wastepaper, weeds, window
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