Chav, also called charver or scally is an expression, especially prevalent in Northern England and refers to the lower class youth, who are wearing counterfeit designer sportswear, as well as fake jewelry, eager to get into trouble at any moment.
“Chavs” are stereotypically described as talking Jamaican patois and act in a violent and intolerable behavior.
Female “chavs” are called “chavettes”.
Origin of the term
The term chavvy had been part of the English language since the 19th century and is considered to be originating from Romani language, in which “chav” means child.
During the 1900’s, the term was homosexual slang for sexual intercourse, and its current meaning didn’t surface until the mid-1990’s.
Spread of the term
The word’s first application in its current meaning originates form a Usenet forum from 1998 and it later appeared in a newspaper article in 2002.
“Chav” became popular and commonly recognized by 2005 and appeared in several books and articles since then, most of which are condemning everything, the term encompasses.
The term was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2003.
- BBC – Why is ‘chav’ still controversial?
- University of Birmingham – Everything you ever wanted to know about the word ‘chav’