Green’s Dictionary of Slang

chump n.

[ext. of 18C SE chump, a short thick lump of wood chopped or sawn from timber]

1. the head, the face.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 101/2: I immediately ‘officed’ to him what was up so as to keep his ‘chump’ still, and they passed by and went in the direction of the skittle ground.
[UK]Wild Boys of London I 37/1: ‘He’ll know my chump again.’ [...] ‘What’s a chump?’ ‘Something as is good looking. Yours is a horful phisog.’.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Fashion’ in Punch 10 Sept. 110/1: Not up to the nines, not O.K., with last Season’s tile on my chump.
[UK] ‘’Arry in ’Arrygate’ (Second Letter) in Punch 15 Oct. 169/2: We’ve conjurers, worblers, phrenologists! One ’ad a go at my chump.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘When Love Began’ The Sporting Times 8 Feb. 1/3: A flare-up on Bank Holidays, with mirth, and dance and song, / Till their chumps are on the ache in ev’ry splinter.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Cost Of Living’ Sporting Times 25 June 1/4: As a last resource, he asked a friend who had a wiser chump / To resolve his doubts, and save him from a chronic state of ‘hump’.

2. a person, esp. a regular working man; thus, in sl. terms, a fool.

[UK]‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 14/1: So off we went to the ‘lush drum’ where the ‘chump’ used to go [...] and asked if Mr. So-and-So was within.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 12 Sept. 6/8: Here lies Joe Crump, / An honest old chump.
[US]S. Crane Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (2001) 22: I met a chump deh odder day way up in deh city.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 1 Dec. 131: Well, if you’re not the meanest old chump that ever stepped!
[UK]D. Stewart Shadows of the Night in Illus. Police News 22 June 12/1: ‘I shouldn’t have thought he’d ha’ been such a wooden-headed chump as to try and escape from the Stone Jug at Portland’.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 2 Mar. 5/5: The Duke [...] is an elfin, whimsical old chump.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 117: Chumps who have to rise and shine in the morning, slaves to the alarm clock, sure don’t understand us creative artists none.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 22: I don’ know dat chump – where he come from.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 33: Ernie couldn’t wait for the chump to dig it out of his sock.
[US]J. Lethem Fortress of Solitude 423: Half the yoke-artists they clocked were chumps Dose knew from around the projects.

3. (also chumpie, chumpkin) a fool; anyone gullible or easily taken in.

[US]N.Y. Times 28 Feb. 10/5: First of all, he [a burglar] introduced me [a reporter] to a new slang word. [...] I discovered that anybody was a ‘chump’ who did not thoroughly understand his business.
[UK]Sporting Life 27 May 4: Maybe Manager Bancroft isn’t regarded as a chump by baseball people.
[US]Louisiana Democrat 14 Feb. 1/6: Well she must think I’m a bloomin’ chump.
[UK]Leics. Chron. 3 May 1/1: What a chump of wood I must have been to go drinking cham!
[NZ]N.Z. Observer and Free Lance (Auckland) 20 Mar. 23/1: Young cock sparrow looks a deuce of a chump in the naval’s rig-out. Pretty cocky!
[US]Wichita Eagle (KS) 24 Dec. 7/1: What excuse can possibly be offered for such words as [...] ‘sardine,’ ‘chump’ [etc.].
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 14: That chump had a full house, nines on somethin’.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 12 Jan. 232: What a chump old Holman was!
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 4 Sept. 2/6: Innercent enuff, like chumpkins, / [...] / For it’s chokey if they fail.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 17 July 1/1: In the missive the innocent referred to her future husband as a ‘bald-headed old chump’.
[US]W.M. Raine Wyoming (1908) 149: See what y’u done, y’u blamed chump!
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 288: You, you chumps, you thick heads, you snivelling, drivelling fools, you’ll wear striped suits and wield pickaxes and answer to a number.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 82: What a chump Judy’d be to even hesitate over a choice there, hey?
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 122: We had been posing as English travellers, but what does the chump do but answer the detectives in French that would do credit to an educated native.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Broadway Financier’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 209: She can see that he is nothing but a hundred-per-cent chump.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 140: A good outsideman [...] always has a chump to play for.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 32: Still other schemers figured they were chumps to be satisfied with merely legitimate trucking profits.
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 91: None of my business of course, not being the kind of chump who undertook murder investigations.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 161: It afforded me no pleasure whatsoever to see him make such a complete and utter chump of himself.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 2: chumpie – insulting reference to another person, more frequently used in a friendly way as a joking insult. ‘Look at that chumpie over there. He thinks he’s bad.’.
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 51: We take down the chump.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 26 Feb. 8: But they blew it; they all turned out to be chumps.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 380: Why is Drew the worst kind of chump, Quentin?
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 173: A well-intentioned chump holding a shank for some inmate.

4. (also old chump) a general term of address, either derog. or teasing.

[UK]Huddersfield Chron. 15 Jan. 3/6: The defendant addressed the complainant as ‘Old Chump’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Road’ in Punch 9 Aug. 83/1: I know a good ’oss when I see one; it isn’t for nothing, old chump, / As I ’se parted so free to the Coachies.
[UK] ‘’Arry at a Political Pic-Nic’ in Punch 11 Oct. 180/1: Fancy, old chump.
[UK]Sporting Times 27 Jan. 3/4: Why, you chump, that card says ‘Blind.’ You’re deef ’n’ dumb.
[UK]Birmingham Gaz. 5 July 4/7: Mind my hat, you silly old chump.
[UK]Marvel 1 Mar. 5: Go on! Fire away, you chump!
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 192: ‘Thanks, chump,’ kidded Killarney.
[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 40: Hello, chump [...] welcome to Los Angeles.
[UK]P. Larkin letter 6 Aug. in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 208: So all’s well that ends well – that’s one life I haven’t ruined. (Not hers you chump – mine!!!).
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 223: Yeah, well we’ll see about that tomorrow, chump.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 203: Chump, that’s mellow with me.
[US]G. Tate ‘Santana’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 93: How do you know, chump?
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 127: Open up, you chumps!

5. (US black) a second-rate pimp, one who just makes enough money to get by.

[US]Hall & Adelman Gentleman of Leisure 145: I ask my girls to work seven days a week [...] But Tracey’s twin sister has a chump. He lets her do anything and everything she wants – she works from twelve to two five days a week.

6. (US black) a disloyal gang member.

[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: chump n. one who fails to meet his obligations of physical support of another gang member.
[US](con. 1940s) Deuce Ofay Productions ‘Jive Bible’ at [Internet] Gravy on (one’s) grits: adj. Said of an individual who has proved to be a success in financial matters; Rich. ‘Why don’t Jeremy come ’roun hea’ no more? He always be out oozin’ an’ schmoozin’ a’ late.’ ‘He got gravy on his grits now, man. He don’t need ta’ be pimpin’ wit’ us at de quickie mart like we’s use to.’ ‘Dat Chump!’ ‘Sheeeeeit! Jive-ass foo’ wuz a gorilla pimp anyhow!’.

7. (US prison) a deliberate insult, implying the subject’s weakness and/or homosexuality; the spur to a fight.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 35: Chump A derogatory term for a male inmate meaning he is homosexual and or weak. To call a person a chump will usually result in a fight if the person is willing to protect his reputation.

In compounds

chump change

see separate entries.

chumphead (n.)

a fool, an idiot; thus chumpheaded adj.

[UK]Northampton Mercury 30 Dec. 3/3: The boy [...] after using very dirty-chimney language to Mrs Burnell, enquired for her chump-headed husband.
[UK]Birmingham Jrnl 15 Aug. 5/6: Mr Richards [...] said, ‘Go in, you chump-headed fool, and mind your own business’.
[UK]Birmingham Dly Post 15 June 6/4: You are a fool and a chumpheaded — for telling.
[UK]D.C. Murray Rainbow Gold I 194: A chump-headed chap like that.
[UK]Marvel 15 May 14: And, coming from a chumphead like Biggleton’s, very wonderful, too.
Mower Co. Transcript (Lansing, MN) 11 Feb. 1/1: There ain’t enough brains in the whole caboodle of our chumpheaded laweyers to get up a dog tax law.
[UK]Marvel 22 Oct. 31: Jest tew think ’ow you chump-heads ha’ bin done!
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 30 July 6/1: Hold tight the rope, you chumphead.
chump job (n.)

(US) respectable, low-paying, regular work.

[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 140: The teacher’s just tryin’ to brainwash you so you’ll take a chump job.
Montreal Mirror [Internet] Ron Livingston plays an average guy stuck in a chump job at a faceless corporation. [Internet] I don’t really want a real job anymore anyway, but as I’ve said before, I do need the money. So I’ll find some chump job that pays me a liveable wage and I’ll stick with that until the company closes.
chump squeeze (n.)

(US black) a punch on the arm or shoulder, its meaning varying according to context.

[US]A. Young Snakes in Major (1994).

In phrases

chump out (v.)

(US black) to make a mistake, to blunder.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 116: Would you want a poor dumb pimp like me to chump out at the start.
off one’s chump

mad, eccentric.

[UK]Wild Boys of London I 82/2: Seems to me [...] that you’ve gone off your chump.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Niggers’ in Punch 15 Mar. 113/2: They all go off their chumps like a shot at a ’int of the pullin’ o’ triggers.
[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 161: Millbank for thick shins and graft at the pump; / Broadmoor for all laggs as go off their chump.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Oct. 14/3: ‘A Salvationist’ writes [...] to say he prays for the editor. This is what makes some people think the Harmy is off its chump.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 21 June 2/4: I’m blessed if I don’t think he’s a-going off his chump.
[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 56: Some pals [...] say he is off his chump, but ’e’s alright. ’E ain’t such a fool.
[US]Chariton Courier (Keytesville. MO) 23 Aug. 2/2: Has James Gordon Bennett gone right off his chump?
[UK]Marvel 22 Dec. 636: He’s fair off his chump – mad as a bloomin’ hatter!
[UK]‘Sapper’ Human Touch 23: It’s only because I know that what you say is right that I haven’t gone off my chump.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 152: He suffered her to overtake him without surprise and thrust his dull grey beard towards her, his loose jaw wagging as he spoke earnestly Meshuggah. Off his chump.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 225: Half London going about under the impression that I’m off my chump.
[UK]W.S. Maugham Bread-Winner Act II: I think he’s off his chump.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Monster’s Malice’ Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective May [Internet] Some sharp disciple has been campaigning to wreck Igor’s reason; drive him off his chump.
[UK]C. Harris Three-Ha’Pence to the Angel 191: Ask me, the ’ole world’s orf its chump.
[UK]J. Orton Diaries (1986) 22 July 249: I thought that these rich people are off their chumps.
[UK]K. Bonfiglioli Don’t Point That Thing at Me (1991) 39: Two members of the cast who’d gone off their chumps.
[UK]I. Rankin Knots and Crosses (1998) 177: We can be sure that this Reeve is off his chump.
[UK](con. 1932) W. Woodruff Beyond Nab End 12: ‘Ark at ’im; off ’is chump ’e is.
provide one’s chump (v.) [Yorks. dial. chump, a lump of meat; Suffolk dial. bread and chumps, bread and cheese ]

(UK Und.) to earn one’s living.

[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 242: ‘Cut her own grass! Good gracious, what is that,’ I asked. ‘Why, purvide her own chump — earn her own living,’ the old man replied.
use one’s chump (v.)

to act intelligently.

M. Brown ‘The Gathering: Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven. The Fellowship of the Pebbles’ in Here There Be Dragones [Internet] ‘Ask someone?’ said Moglet. ‘But who?’ said Corby. ‘Use your chump, feline. Most people wouldn’t have any idea what we were talking about.’ ‘Magician might know the answer,’ said Puddy. ‘Or wise man. Or sage.’.