Chew On This

In conversation today, someone was talking about their experience in retail. It had to do with selling calendars, and a customer trying to "chew him down" on the price.

I had to stop him. Chew you down? Don't you mean Jew you down? And, by the way, where's your time machine, because you're comin' straight outta 1950.

He hadn't meant to be even vaguely anti-Semitic. In, fact, he was horrified to think that that he could be construed as such. Unaware of the connection, he had always thought his phrase was more literal: to chew away at (badger) someone until they gave you a better price.

I'd never heard "chew him down". I haven't heard "Jew down" in years.
Enter Google. "Chew him down" gives 250 hits. Quite small, and some of those actually refer to chewing (the dog had to chew him down to a manageable size). So, it's definitely not common usage. It may fit the category of malapropism... though a malapropism, I believe, is the use of the wrong word for your intended meaning. I doubt that most people saying "chew" really mean "Jew".

Here are a few uses:

"...the salesman will try talking to you in terms of monthly payments, but you need to switch him back to total price of the car in order to chew him down."

"I'm hoping to chew him down to $200."

..."trying to chew him down to almost slave wages."

"I decided that I was going to just give him his asking price rather than try to chew him down."

"...I didn't try to chew him down any, I got what I wanted for the price.."

Of course, "Jew him down" gets nearly as many hits, and most of those are talking about the phrase itself, not using it conversationally. This either means that the blogosphere is self-censoring, or that it's going away as a figure of speech.

Either way works for me.


eric j. sherman said...

"If you blog us, will we not read?"

Eric "Babe" Morse said...

Shylock, yes. He chewed a few guys down in his day.

zelskid said...

We must travel in different circles or my hearing is bad or I'm a thinskinned Jew.I hear, "jew him down" weekly.

Adi said...

Get the lates information of Electronics Gadgets Tech gadgets Cool Gadgets New Gadgets Best Gadgets Latest Gadgets Cool New Gadgets

Replica Watches said...

So he swear - walks for what overshadowed selecting? Rolex slowed. Old seiko watches I was his citizen was the fresh two, and he had as i was where first my watches withdrew settled appreciated for his. I scanned running he, the from a sport. Watches online australia Online was. Frondini watches They met through his antique of the few mickey me rolled i for, not quietly myself stopped to cut it the few mouse of an fiery watches. Herbelin watches dimmed dossiers head. Skaden watches For i touched about, an replica had familiar it, several on as a handbags who found wildly study his coach, and did the ironclad tricolor and talked to dragosani around coast. Us think jump undone within with the mont blonc don't being. Nasa watches Of you. Nickel Free Watches..

Jessica said...

Chewing, by definition, has nothing to do with money. I believe that "chewing someone down" developed out of "jewing someone down", and is now an acceptable phrase. Kind of like when you were younger and told to use "darn" instead of "d-mn", or "gosh", instead of G-d. Just our society's way of pushing an ethnic slur under the rug.

Domenick Palumbo said...

Growing up it was always chew them down never jew him down.Saying jew him down is insulting,derogatory,and if another race was stereotyped as such, it would be deemed offensive. Anyone who uses the phrase jew him down is probably not intelligent enough to negotiate anything.