Totally agree, it has the bizarre effect on me of actually wanting to go out and be a chav just to get up peoples' noses. If only I actually knew what a chav was, I am a little bit unclear on that to be honest. I always think of it as the kind of term that replaced what my mother used to describe as 'common' and I also loathe that phrase too. Makes me cringe and think 'SNOB'.
'chav' does mean something - there was a thing on the radio this morning and I vaguely recollect it being possibly a Romany word - I think people have just taken it and are using it willy nilly regardless of it's original meaning - I'd rather people said 'common' if they meant it that way
OUP says this... chav /tæv/ noun (BrE, slang) a young person, often without a high level of education, who follows a particular fashion: There are always loads of chavs hanging round the shopping centre. Chavs usually wear designer labels, and if theyre girls, very short skirts and stilettos. Chavs still see branded baseball caps as a status symbol and wear them at every opportunity. adj. [only before noun]: The bus was full of chav kids. chav girls with their big gold jewellery In Britain there are many words to describe people from this social group, and they are often limited to a particular town or region. Other words with a similar meaning to chav are townie, scally, ned and charver. The word chav has become common in southern England, and is generally thought to come from Chatham girls (Chatham is a town in Kent.) Some people think, however, that the word comes originally from the Romany word chavo (boy), which is also the origin of the Spanish word chaval.