The idiom "chow time" means it's time to eat or have a meal. It is often used informally and may have originated in the 1800s from Chinese migrants.
"Chow time" is an informal way of announcing that it's time to eat.
The phrase "Chow time" is an informal way of saying it's time to eat. People use it in a cheerful or enthusiastic manner to express anticipation for a meal.
Therefore, when combined, "chow time" is a playful and casual announcement that food is ready to be served or consumed.
The term "chow" is slang for food and has interesting historical origins. It entered the American vernacular in California during the mid-19th century. Around 1856, Chinese migrants in California adopted the word "chow-chow" from a pidgin English-Chinese creole. "Chow-chow" likely originated from the Chinese word "cha," meaning "mixed" or "mixture." The pidgin phrase was used to refer to a spread of different cooked meats and vegetables.
"Skinny Vandeventer is still a little bit peeved because he now has to pipe down with the rest of the seagulls at chow time."
- The Marines Magazine, Vol 3, 1917
Here are some examples of how "chow time" might be used in various contexts:
Like many idioms, "Chow time" has found its way into various facets of pop culture, from movies and TV shows to songs and books.
Some notable examples include:
These examples showcase how "Chow time" is utilized in pop culture, often to add a touch of authenticity, humor, or excitement to a scene.
There are many other ways to announce that it's time to eat.
Here are a few alternatives to "Chow time":
You can use the alternatives interchangeably depending on the situation and the level of formality desired.
"Chow time" is a casual way of saying it's time to eat.
The term "chow" comes from the Cantonese word "cháo," which means "to stir-fry" or "cooked." It was adopted by English speakers during the California Gold Rush in the 19th century.
Generally, "Chow time" is considered informal. For formal occasions, phrases like "Dinner is served" might be more appropriate.
"Chow time" is predominantly used in American English, but it may be understood in other English-speaking countries due to American media influence.
Yes, "Chow time" can be used to denote any mealtime, including breakfast and lunch.
Yes, "Chow time" can be used among all age groups, though it is often considered to have a playful or casual tone.
Yes, similar phrases include "mealtime", "dinnertime", "lunchtime", and more colloquially, "grub time".
While it's more commonly used in speech, "Chow time" can be used in informal writing, such as personal emails or text messages.
No, "Chow time" is a neutral phrase, though it is casual and might not be appropriate for more formal or serious contexts.
Not typically. "Chow time" is generally used to announce that it's time to eat. However, one might say something like "It's not chow time yet" if the meal is not ready.
"Chow time" is an informal phrase that indicates it's time to eat. It's a testament to the way language evolves, as seen in its journey from Cantonese kitchens to American tables.
This idiom is more than just an invitation to eat. It's a call to gather, share, and enjoy the universal experience of a good meal. Next time you're about to enjoy a meal, why not announce, "Chow time!" You'll be partaking in a linguistic tradition that spans cultures and centuries.