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1. A Chinese preserve of fruits, fruit peels, and ginger.
2. A relish consisting of chopped vegetables pickled in mustard.

[Pidgin English, possibly from reduplication of Cantonese zaap6, food, mixture; see chow2.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Breeds) a thick-coated breed of the spitz type of dog with a curled tail and a characteristic blue-black tongue; it came originally from China. Often shortened to: chow
2. (Cookery) a Chinese preserve of ginger, orange peel, etc in syrup
3. (Cookery) a mixed vegetable pickle
[C19: from pidgin English, probably based on Mandarin Chinese cha miscellaneous]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

chow chow

(ˈtʃaʊ ˌtʃaʊ)

n. (often caps.)
one of a Chinese breed of medium-sized dogs with a stocky body, a large head, a thick coat forming a ruff around the neck, and a blue-black tongue.
[1785–95; said to be < dial. Chinese; compare Guangdong dial. gáu dog]


a relish of chopped mixed pickles in mustard sauce.
[1785–95; < Chinese Pidgin English]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Chow-Chow, you bad little dog, come and you shall have your dinner."
Washee him piecie pants, chow-chow top-side -- see, John?"
On the company website, PAL lists 29 brachycephalic dog breeds including Shar-pei, pug, French bulldog, Shih Tzu, Rotweiller, Lhasa Apso, Chow-Chow and Pekingese.
Four-month-old Bungle the PS2,000 chow-chow had been detained under the Dangerous Dogs Act after running loose from his owners' home.
Thus the sausage plate it was, with onion chow-chow and potato wedges.
| WHAT is a chow-chow? | WHERE is the film industry known as Bollywood?
Chef Starr nails this one with a centerpiece of tomato aspic, mixed greens, a killer homemade corn chow-chow, and green onion dressing.