verb (used with object)
to chew with steady or vigorous working of the jaws, often audibly.
That is denotation...That's what I think of when I look at that gorilla going at it up there. I can see in the background the baby gorilla and I really feel like I'm in the jungle, pounding my hands and bantering, even hissing at those non-alpha males that want in on the action.
What about connotation? I don't think there is really anything that is positive about this word in that regard. If you don't think that there could have been a better word then why don't you visit urbandictionary.com and see what they have to say about it? I'm sure you'll be pleasantly or uncomfortably surprised, depending on your convictions.
Sources, and such: