Chum – What does “Chum” mean in British slang?

This weekend I have been lazy, I have gone shopping, tidied my flat and spent some time with my chum… Louisa what are you talking about now? What are your chums?

Chums C-H-U-M-S, is a tricky slang word, we can use it as a noun, a verb or an adjective. So let’s see how now!

As a noun Chum simply means a close friend. The origin of “chum” in this sense is strictly used in speech. The phrase Chum first appeared in the late 17th century and was derived from “chamber fellow” meaning roommate. It was used in schools and colleges around Britain simply referring to the person who you shared a room with, however by extension it started to denote, a close friend and/or constant companion.

Nowadays as a noun a chum is a friend or a pal. For example you and your best chums might spend the weekend camping together. The informal word chum is more common in Britain than the US. In Scotland another kind of chum couldn’t be more different from a friend. There chum means a chopped up fish parts used as bait on a fishing boat. So be careful how and when you use it.

As a verb to chum someone means to hang out with, escort or to accompany someone somewhere. As a verb it is often used in Scottish slang, especially by people from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

It could be said:

  • “Will you chum me to the station?”

Meaning will you come with me to the station. Or it could be used like this:

  • “Jake will you chum me up to my house?”
    Meaning William will you accompany me up to my house?

Finally as an adjective we have chummy C-H-U-M-M-Y meaning companionable, sociable, intimate. As in:

  • “Susan and I are great friends, we are really chummy”.

So start using it today! Do you have lots of chums who are very chummy?

That’s the end of our episode of the day so remember to tune in for our next episode so see what new slang we have in store for you! You can find us on our website and from there you can see our transcript and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and many more apps. Or head over to our facebook page https://facebook/theslangpodcast for updates and more slang!