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Chav, charv/charver (male) and chavette/shav (female) are mainly negative slang words in the United Kingdom for a subcultural stereotype of young underclass white people. Chav: "a young working class person who dresses in casual sports clothing".[1]

They may wear fashions based on American hip-hop such as fake gold jewellery and designer clothing, combined with elements of working class British street fashion. Many are either school age or late teens/early twenties and may come from a family culture of state benefit claimants. The term first appeared in dictionaries in 2005.[2][3]

The stereotype of "chav"

"Chav" has started to mean a variety of things. Most chavs do not wear Burberry – this happened mostly in the '90s and early '00s. Chavs are narrow-minded and more often than not, below average intelligence. Chavs also tend to use slang language to appear "cooler".

Chavs may be associated with criminality, including: assault, mugging, robbery, burglary and car crime. Anti-social behaviour orders (Asbo)s were introduced to tackle such persistent offending.

The chav attitude

As well as hating anyone who does not belong to their group, many of them start fights for pleasure. Emos and goths are often followed and hurt, usually one goth or emo against many more chavs, simply because they are different.

Pop culture

In 2011 Owen Jones published his first book, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class. Jones says in it that 'chav' is a word used to make working class people seem less human.


  1. Collins English Dictionary
  2. "'Asbo' and 'chav' make dictionary". BBC News. 2005-06-08. Retrieved 2006-09-02.
  3. Tweedie, Neil (2005-08-10). "Don't be a plank. Read this and get really clueful". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2006-09-02.