noun, plural cham·ois, cham·oix [sham-eez; French sha-mwah] /ˈʃæm iz; French ʃaˈmwɑ/.
- an agile, goatlike antelope, Rupicapra rupicapra, of high mountains of Europe: now rare in some areas.
- a soft, pliable leather from any of various skins dressed with oil, especially fish oil, originally prepared from the skin of the chamois.
- a piece of this leather.
- a cotton cloth finished to simulate this leather.
- a medium to grayish yellow color.
verb (used with object), cham·oised [sham-eed] /ˈʃæm id/, cham·ois·ing [sham-ee-ing] /ˈʃæm i ɪŋ/.
- to dress (a pelt) with oil in order to produce a chamois.
- to rub or buff with a chamois.
noun plural -ois
- (ˈʃæmwɑː) a sure-footed goat antelope, Rupicapra rupicapra, inhabiting mountains of Europe and SW Asia, having vertical horns with backward-pointing tips
- a soft suede leather formerly made from the hide of this animal, now obtained from the skins of sheep and goats
- Also called: chamois leather, shammy, shammy leather, chammy, chammy leather (ˈʃæmɪ) a piece of such leather or similar material used for polishing, etc
- a yellow to greyish-yellow colour
- (as modifier)a chamois stamp
- to dress (leather or skin) like chamois
- to polish with a chamois
1550s, “Alpine antelope;” 1570s, “soft leather,” originally “skin of the chamois,” from Middle French chamois “Alpine antelope” (14c.), from Late Latin camox (genitive camocis), perhaps from a pre-Latin Alpine language that also produced Italian camoscio, Spanish camuza, Old High German gamiza, German Gemse (though some of these might be from Latin camox). As a verb, “to polish with chamois,” from 1934.