A Tatar or Mongol khan.
Origin of chamMiddle French, from Old French kaan, kan, partly from Mongolian kağan and partly from Tatar xan; akin to Turkish han, khan; see khan1.
- Archaic spelling of khan.
- An autocrat or dominant critic, especially Samuel Johnson.
- 1997: "Sitting at a table, drinking Ale, observing the Mist thro’ the Window-Panes, Mason forty-five, the Cham sixty-four." — Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon
- 2007: The Tonsons […] would publish Johnson's Shakespeare only by subscription, obliging the Great Cham to sell copies well ahead of publication — Michael Dobson, ‘For his Nose was as sharpe as a Pen’, London Review of Books 29:9, p. 3
(third-person singular simple present chams, present participle chamming, simple past and past participle chammed)
- (obsolete) To chew.