chivvy

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From chivy, chevy (to chase; to race, scamper),[1] from chivy, chevy (a chase, hunt, pursuit), probably from the title of The Ballad of Chevy Chase, first published in The Complaynt of Scotland (1549); the ballad is about a hunt taking place on a chase (large country estate where game may be hunted) in the Cheviot Hills between Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, and is thought to allude to the Battle of Otterburn in 1388.[2]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

chivvy (third-person singular simple present chivvies, present participle chivvying, simple past and past participle chivvied)

  1. (transitive, Britain) To coerce or hurry along, as by persistent request. [from late 18th c.]
    • 1889, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “Of the Swordsman with the Brown Jacket”, in Micah Clarke: [], London: Longmans, Green, and Co [], OCLC 729680187, page 316:
      Odd's wouns! it was a proper hunt. Away went my gentlemen, whooping like madmen, with their coat skirts flapping in the breeze, chivying on the dogs and having a rare morning's sport.
    • 1973, B. W. E. Alford, “A New Generation and a New Firm”, in W. D. & H. O. Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry, 1786–1965, London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. [], →ISBN; reprinted as Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2006, →ISBN, page 55:
      Some customers could now be relied upon to send in their orders regularly and, apart from having to chivy those who had fallen behind with their payments, this allowed travellers to concentrate their energies on securing new customers and on recovering those who had been lost to competitors.
    • 1981 November, Gardner Dozois; Jack C[arroll] Haldeman II, “Executive Clemency”, in Omni, New York, N.Y.: Omni Publications International; republished as Gardner Dozois, Geodesic Dreams: The Best Short Fiction of Gardner Dozois, New York, N.Y.: St. Martin’s Press, October 1992, →ISBN, page 35:
      He headed for home, walking a little faster now, as if chivied along by some old cold wind that didn't quite reach the sunlit world.
    • 2005 November 10, Nick Robinson, “Robinson’s View: Blair’s Defeat”, in BBC News[1], archived from the original on 14 June 2017:
      For 11 years now he [Tony Blair] has only one approach – to lead from the front and then to confront, challenge, and chivvy the Labour Party into backing him.
    • 2007 April 24, “The Albert Sessions”, in BBC[2], archived from the original on 29 May 2006:
      We don't have time to respond to emails or any attempts to chivvy us up – sorry.
    • 2014 August, Holly McQueen, chapter 16, in Charlie Glass’s Slippers: A Very Modern Fairy Tale, 1st trade paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Atria Paperback, →ISBN, page 267:
      She's helpful and rude in equal measure as she chivvies me into insisting that Heather include a particular pair of gold metallic wedges that I really think is representative of Dad's style []
  2. (transitive, Britain) To subject to harassment or verbal abuse.
    • 1852 March – 1853 September, Charles Dickens, “Stop Him!”, in Bleak House, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1853, OCLC 999756093, page 447:
      He wos allus willin fur to give me somethink he wos, though Mrs. Sangsby she was allus a chivying on me—like everybody everywheres.
    • 1883, “Nessmuk” [pseudonym; George Washington Sears]; Charles F. Orvis and A. Nelson Cheney, compilers, “Trout: Meeting Them on the ‘June Rise’”, in Fishing with the Fly: Sketches by Lovers of the Art, with Illustrations of Standard Flies, Manchester, Vt.: C. F. Orvis, OCLC 7391865638, page 167:
      So when I was done, and the fishing was as good as the start, I cut a long "staddle," with a bush at the top, and I just went for that school of trout. I chevied, harried and scattered them, up stream and down, until I could not see a fish.
    • 1898, W[illiam] W[ymark] Jacobs, “Pickled Herring”, in Sea Urchins, London: Lawrence and Bullen, Ltd. [], OCLC 477208446, page 160:
      "They're chevying that poor animal [a dog] again," he said hotly. "It's scandalous." / "Rupert can take care of himself," said the mate calmly, continuing his meal. "I expect, if the truth's known, it's him 's been doin' the chevying."
    • 2004, Alan Hollinghurst, chapter 5, in The Line of Beauty, London: Picador, published 2005, →ISBN, part 1 (The Love-chord (1983)), page 128:
      Toby played the lightly chivvied ‘husband’ very sweetly, and Sophie claimed him in the childish ways of someone experimenting with her power, with little exasperations and innuendos.
  3. (transitive, Britain) To sneak up on or rapidly approach.
  4. (transitive, Britain) To pursue as in a hunt. [from mid 19th c.]
    Synonyms: chase, hunt
    to chivvy the fox

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

chivvy (plural chivvies)

  1. (Britain) Something that encourages one to act; a goad, a spur.
    • 2003 September 23, “Web Payback for Delayed Commuters”, in BBC News[5], archived from the original on 9 March 2016:
      Although Mr [Paul] Hatcher is not sure how popular the site will be he has designed it to handle up to 10,000 requests an hour. "It's just there to act as a chivvy to London Underground," he said.

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