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chaff

chaff1 / chaf/ • n. the husks of corn or other seed separated by winnowing or threshing. ∎  chopped hay and straw used as fodder. ∎ fig. worthless things; trash. ∎  strips of metal foil or metal filings released in the atmosphere from aircraft, or deployed as missiles, to obstruct radar detection or confuse radar-tracking missiles. PHRASES: separate the wheat from the chaff distinguish valuable people or things from worthless ones.DERIVATIVES: chaff·y adj. chaff2 • n. lighthearted joking; banter. • v. [tr.] tease.

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chaff

chaff the husks of corn or other seed separated by winnowing or threshing; traditionally taken as the type of something worthless.

Recorded from Old English (in the form cæf, ceaf), the word probably comes from a Germanic base meaning ‘gnaw’.
be caught with chaff be easily deceived (as in the proverb, you cannot catch old birds with chaff).
separate the wheat from the chaff distinguish valuable people or things from worthless ones.

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chaff

chaff 1 husks of grain OE.; refuse XIII; cut hay and straw XVIII. OE. ċeaf = MLG., (M)Du., MHG. kaf (G. dial. kaff), corr. to OHG. cheva husk; prob. f. Gmc. base *kaf- *kef- gnaw, chew.

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chaff

chaff 2 banter lightly; also as sb. XIX. of slang orig.; perh. a var. of CHAFE, for which sps. with -ff- occur from XVI in the sense of ‘scolding’.

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chaff

chaffbarf, behalf, calf, chaff, coif, giraffe, Graf, graph, half, laugh, scarf, scrum half, staff, strafe, wing half •headscarf • mooncalf • bar graph •telegraph • polygraph • epigraph •serigraph • cardiograph • radiograph •spectrograph • micrograph •lithograph • heliograph •choreograph • tachograph •stylograph • holograph • seismograph •chronograph, monograph •phonograph • paragraph •cinematograph • pictograph •autograph • photograph • flagstaff •jackstaff • distaff • tipstaff • epitaph •pikestaff • cenotaph

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