Green’s Dictionary of Slang

chops n.1

also chaps
[16C SE]

1. the jaws, the mouth, the lips.

[UK]Misogonus in Farmer (1906) III iii: But here in my cho-cho-chops I have such a pain.
[UK]Three Lords and Three Ladies of London B 4: Because ye have two chaps, an upper chap and a nether chap.
[UK]Marston Jacke Drums Entertainment Act II: Thou wast not made to slauer her faire lips With thy dead rewmy chops.
[UK]N. Field Woman is a Weathercock IV ii: Thy slops and cat-a-mountain face, Thy bladder-chops and thy robustious words, Fright’st the poor whore.
[UK]Massinger Bondman II ii: Plague on his toothlesse chaps.
[UK]R. Brome Antipodes IV ix: Pox o’ your mumbling chops.
[UK]T. Rawlins Rebellion IV i: He fed upon his god; but he being angry Scalded his Chops.
[UK] ‘Dr Smith’s Ballad’ in Wardroper (1969) 149: And every morning they feed their chops / With caudles, broths and honey-sops.
[UK]Marlowe Lascivious Queen IV ii: You whorson fat-chopt guts.
[UK]Wandring Whore IV 11: Item for Gusman, the tel-tale, to hold a close pair of chaps.
[UK]C. Cotton Virgil Travestie (1765) Bk I 62: Faggot-sticks flew in Folks Chops.
[UK]T. Duffet Empress of Morocco Act II: To feast my Chops with Mutton.
[UK]Behn Lucky Chance I i: Here, Rag, run and fetch her a pint of sack, there’s no other way of quenching the fire in her flabber chops.
[UK] ‘Voyage to Maryland’ Mundus Muliebris 9: Bottles, Cups Cover’d, or open, to wash Chaps.
[UK]Female Wits I ii: Now have I such a mind to kick him i’ the chops.
[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus I:3 13: Like one that’s frantick in his Cups, / Who hits his Friend a Slap o’th’ Chops.
[UK]S. Centlivre Wonder! II i: My chops water for a kiss, they do, Flora.
[Ire]‘An Irish Wedding’ in A. Carpenter Verse in Eng. in 18C Ireland (1998) 109: A plain Coife about her Chops / Did dangle.
[UK]Penkethman’s Jests 3: S’bud Patrick, I’ll give thee half a Crown for a stroke of those bluff Chops of thine.
[UK]Swift ‘Lady’s Dressing-Room’ Miscellanies V (1736) 23: Ointments good for scabby chops.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 147: One of them, wrestling open his Chaps, made him spit out the Gold.
[UK]Richardson Clarissa VII 214: He hit me a damned dowse of the chops, as made my nose bleed.
[UK]Smollett Peregrine Pickle (1964) 380: I vow to Gad! you look extremely shocking, with those gummy eyes, lanthorn jaws, and toothless chaps.
[Ire]K. O’Hara Midas I v: I’ll smash his trim guittar – about his chaps.
[UK]Smollett Humphrey Clinker (1925) I 142: My fellow-servant Umphrey Klinker bid him to be sivil, and he gave the young man a dowse in the chops.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 109: talthibious to the boats did run / To fetch for Jove a hot cross-bun; / Knowing their bones he’d soon be fagging / Should they not keep his chaps a wagging.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Lyric Odes’ Works (1794) I 73: A Dutchman, I forgot his name – Van Grout, Van Slabberchops, Van Stink.
[Scot]Hist. of Peter and Betteries 6: How drunk sirrah? Give me such another word and I’ll make thy pate ring against the wall, thou brazen fac’d rascal! And as thou likes that slap on the chaps so prat to me the next time.
[UK]G.A. Stevens Adventures of a Speculist II 12: Wrinkled, chop-fallen, blear-eyed and broken-winded.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Pindariana’ Works (1796) IV 338: Wishing, as he was beating the highways, For somewhat dainty to amuse his chops.
[UK] ‘Sly Reynard’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 136: He that pulls the bone out that distorts my chops / Is a goose I’ll reward for his merit.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Village Fete 16: Who bids you speak, nimble-chops, go your ways.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 187: The Bug-destroyer munched a candle and sluiced his greasy chops with Jacky.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 137: Nor yet the last time Tom will steal / A kiss from Sally’s chops.
[US]Ely’s Hawk & Buzzard (NY) Sept. 7 n.p.: Old Nick’s imps, smacked their chops.
[UK]Punch 24 July 18: Doesn’t my nose glow like coral — arn’t my chops radiant as a rainbow.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 2 Apr. n.p.: Your amorous chops / Will soon be acquaint with my bucket of slops.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 14 Feb. 3/2: He admitted having given the prosecutor a ‘lap on the chops’.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 36/1: My bold officer grabbed her by the ‘chops’ and gave her a rousing kiss.
[Scot] ‘Come & Take Tea in the Arbour’ Laughing Songster 7: From above, a black spider swung bibbity bob / In my chops, as I sat in the arbour.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Sept. 2/2: He gives a call — the driver stops, / And Thompson ‘lands him in the chops’.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) III 511: ‘If you say that again [...] I’ll slap your chops.’ I did, and she gave me a slap in the face.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 17: Chops, the mouth or cheeks; ‘down in the chops’; sad.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 13 July 656: He may gobble his master up, boots and all, and smack his chops after it.
[US]News & Courier (Charleston, SC) 14 Apr. 18/1: I pushed a couple of sinkers into my chops.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 23 Feb. 5/1: You would never think as butter / Wouldn’t melt inside her chops.
[US]Van Loan ‘Sporting Doctor’ Taking the Count 53: Stick one on Bradys chops.
[US]H.E. Rockwell ‘Color Stuff’ in AS III:1 29: The boxer, according to the sporting writer, ‘whambs,’ ‘socks,’ ‘busts,’ ‘bowls over,’ ‘flips or jabs a left or right,’ ‘raps ’em in the chops,’ ‘pokes,’ ‘whacks,’ ‘knocks his can off,’ ‘hammers,’ and ‘wallops’ his opponent.
[Aus](con. WWI) L. Mann Flesh in Armour 261: ‘I thought of giving him one in the chops’.
[UK]J. Franklyn This Gutter Life 19: If Cora did slap Fishhooks ‘round the chops’.
[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks n.p.: Chops: Mouth.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Big Umbrella’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 558: One smack on the chops may finish us up for good.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 110: Give the kids a fair go Charlie, or I’ll smack you in the chops.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 32: I was just sitting in that hashhouse, smacking my chops on an egg sandwich.
[UK]F. Norman Fings I i: I gave that Rosey a belt round the chops the uvva day.
[UK]G. Melly Owning Up (1974) 187: He was telling Mick, as he rubbed white ointment all over his astounding lips [...] how essential it was for him, as a trumpet player, to ‘look after your chops heh heh heh!’.
[US]B. Moyers Listening to America 203: Give one of those kids a swat on the chops.
[US]‘Joe Bob Briggs’ Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In 13: The Reaper started licking his chops over that toddler meat.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 91: The cows they got very fucking tame. So tame it seemed they came and licked your fucking chops for you.
[US] in N. Tosches Where Dead Voices Gather (ms.) 352: A longtime trumpeter and singer, he had taken up the piano actively only after literally losing his chops: he couldn’t play the trumpet with his false teeth.
[US]K. Huff A Steady Rain I i: You and me, we take it on the chops, ’cause it’s funny, we got a sense-a humor about it.
[US]J. Díaz This Is How You Lose Her 18: She smacked me right across the chops.
[Aus]G. Disher Kill Shot [ebook] Lazar wanted to smack him about the chops.

2. (Aus.) food, a meal.

[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer II 56: Gregor was out at cockcrow, to kill a sheep for morning chops.

3. (orig. US black) ability, skill, competence [jazz musicians fig. ref. to the use of one’s mouth and lips in playing a wind instrument].

D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 24 MNay 13: Satch’s chops are still solid and enough to beat down all unrighteous cats with ideas.
[US]Metronome Jan. 32: He might not have the chops he used to have, but his ideas are always fine.
[US]Down Beat 24 July 14: While it lasted it helped musicians who weren’t working because they could keep up their chops.
[US]Down Beat 27 Sept. 41: He’s got a lotta chops, but he played way too long.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 62: Sometimes your chops for action and your terror would reach a different place and you’d go looking for it everywhere, and nothing would happen.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘So Why Doesn’t Jack the Lad Get a Real Job?’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] Having no chops, I stuck it [i.e. dish-washing] out.
[SA]R. Malan My Traitor’s Heart (1991) 287: My jive chops had rusted away.
[US]R. Shell Iced 214: We just fuckin’ wit’ dis jazz-funk just to toughen out our chops.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 289: It’s in the battle-rap tradition, a rapper boasting of his chops, demonstrating his superior wordplay.
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 132: ‘You didn’t have the chops?’ [...] ‘I didn’t have the appetite for all the hustling.’.
[UK]K. Richards Life 371: We knew he’d got his chops, we knew he could play.
[US]L. Berney Gutshot Straight [ebook] He knew he had the chops to make it work.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 69: You can really exercise your journalistic chops.
[US](con. 1991-94) W. Boyle City of Margins 181: ‘That Sister Eleanor had some real chops’.

In phrases

beat up someone’s chops (v.)

to nag, to criticize.

[US]Louis Jordan ‘You Run Your Mouth and I’ll Run My Business’ 🎵 You catch me beatin’ up your chops? / I ought to turn you over to the cops.
bust one’s chops (v.) (US)

1. to talk incessantly.

[Aus]S. Maloney Something Fishy (2006) 95: There’s no mileage in busting your chops.

2. to work very hard.

[US]J. Lahr Hot to Trot 112: You spent eight weeks bustin’ your chops for a newspaper.
[US]W.D. Myers Outside Shot 158: We could make it up if things went right for us. If we all busted our chops.
[US]W.D. Myers Autobiog. of My Dead Brother 4: [I]f he got into a good high school, he was going to bust his chops so he could go on to college.

3. to make a great fuss about something.

[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 115: The union guy is still busting his chops.
[US]D. Winslow Winter of Frankie Machine (2007) 49: ‘Then why were you busting chops?’ Frank asks. Because you’re a smarmy, wise-ass punk, Frank thinks.
bust someone’s chops (v.) (also break someone’s chops)

1. to nag, to criticize; to cause someone problems.

[US](con. 1966) P. Maas Serpico 127: There’s more here than meets the eye. Somebody’s trying to break my chops, and I think I know why’.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 5: That was home base, the church. Kids used to call me a ‘hallelujah’ —break my chops.
[US]W.D. Myers Outside Shot 78: Chances are he’s either not married or he’s got some dame that’s breaking his chops.
[US]Pileggi & Scorsese Goodfellas [film script] 38: Jimmy’s busting my chops.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 145: Hey [...] quit bustin’ my chops.
[US]E. Weiner Big Boat to Bye-Bye 163: She had systematically busted every one of my chops about it.

2. to tease.

[US]R. Friedman Street Warrior 41: As I approached the station house [with a naked arrestee], a group of cops good-naturedly broke my chops.
[US]L. Lungaro The 3-0 110: I chuckled and told the third teenager, ‘Listen I’m just busting your chops. I grew up a Mets fan.’.
down in the chops (adj.)


[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 78: Vy, Paul, my kid, you looks down in the chops; cheer up, – care killed a cat!
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK]‘Career of a Scapegrace’ in Leicester Chron. 10 May 12/1: Oh! shut up, old Cherry Nose, you’re always down in the chops.
[UK]Brewer Dict. of Phrase and Fable 249/2: Chops. [...] Down in the chopsi.e. down in the mouth; in a melancholy state.
flap one’s chops (v.)

to talk incessantly, to gossip.

HawkeyeDave posting at 🌐 Earlier in the year, ol’ Leslie girl was flapping her chops about Ferentz and Iowa.
flog one’s chops (v.)

1. (Aus.) to work very hard.

[Aus]A. Buzo Norm and Ahmed (1973) 13: Why doesn’t your old man send you a few bob to help you along? You wouldn’t have to flog your chops too much then.

2. (N.Z.) to talk incessantly.

[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 80: flog your chops Talk incessantly.
grease one’s chops (v.)

(US black) to eat, esp. to eat highly greasy food.

[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 177: They couldn’t remember when they’d greased their chops last.
[US]F. Miller Gutbucket and Gossamer 19: Then the suggestion that we grease our chops was advanced.
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 484: grease your chops: To dine. For a dime you can grease your chops at Father’s.
grease someone’s chops (v.)

to flatter, to toady to.

[T. Betterton] Amorous Widow 2: If I would grease her Chops with a few Compliments, she’d Mump and Smile upon me.
off one’s chops (adj.)

(Irish) extremely intoxicated by a drink or drug.

[Ire]L. McInerney Blood Miracles : You do them all tonight and you’ll be fucked off your chops.
run one’s chops about (v.)

(US black) to talk, to complain.

The Other Gordon posting at 4 May 🌐 What do you think of this asshole SPEC 4 Combat dude running his chops about all his vast military experience?
slice one’s chops (v.) (also slit one’s chops)

1. (US black) to talk.

[US]D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam News 28 Dec. 16: ‘Cop a squat, and slit your chops’ which I understand is translated: ‘take a seat [...] and open your mouth and start taking’.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 38: You’re slicing your chops about these fine young hens been tipping down the crunching straight in the cool of the evening.

2. (US black) to eat.

D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 22 Nov. 14: [S]lice my chops on a bowl of beef an’ shinny beans for the deuce o’ demons I knocked on that last beg on the stem.
wag one’s chops (v.)

to chatter, to gossip, to complain.

[UK] ‘New Intended Reform Bill’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 86: Butchers will be compelled to [...] cease to wag their chops about the steaks being so dear.