v. chomped, chomp·ing, chomps
To chew or bite on noisily: a horse chomping oats.
To chew or bite on something repeatedly: chomping on a cigar.
The act or an instance of vigorous biting: "He finished the last of his sandwich with a single chomp" (Anne Tyler).
chomp at the bit
To show impatience at being held back or delayed.
[Variant of CHAMP1.]
Usage Note: Historically, to bite down with the teeth was to champ, not to chomp, and someone who was impatient at being held back was said to champ at the bit rather than to chomp at the bit. The version of this idiom using the variant chomp first became popular in the mid-1900s and is now the more common form, but both were rated as broadly acceptable in our 2015 Usage Panel ballot, with 70 percent of the Panel accepting the form with champ and 77 percent accepting the form with chomp.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.