Chav is something you call a person who is poor or from a lower class, loud, and may try to act from a higher class by wearing designer clothing. These people are usually young. The plural form is chavs.
Chav originated in Britain. It is seen as derogatory, though some used the term proudly much as some Americans use redneck. It is used widely outside the US. This is reflected in it being listed as an official word in the Oxford Dictionaries, but not in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
It has an adjective form of chavvy.
Two theories exist of its origin. One is that it is an abbreviation of the town Chatham. Another is that it came from the Gypsy language, which has the word chavo for boy and chavvy for child.
Latest single Eez-eh proved to be Kasabian’s impressive attempt at a chav anthem, an update on Underworld’s Born Slippy. [The West Australian]
She is convinced there was an element of class snobbery – targeting the chav who flew too near the sun. [The Guardian]
Nelson, a self-styled “lovable chav” played by former doctor Simon Brodkin, performed for 10 minutes on the Virgin Atlantic flight in a surprise warm-up show. [Express]
Whereas a few years ago sportswear was the preserve of pro athletes and… um… chavs, now women in particular are wearing their fluoro trainers, patterned leggings and swishy ponytails like badges of honour. [The Independent]
The targets of her snobbery have included the overweight, maternity leave, Ramadam and children who have chavvy names. [The Telegraph]
I’ve also seen it used to describe things once seen as “chavvy”, like the Essex boys who have adopted “hipster” styles such as sailor tattoos and Peaky Blinders hairdos. [Evening Standard]