from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cut by striking with a heavy sharp tool, such as an ax: chop wood.
  • transitive v. To shape or form by chopping: chop a hole in the ice.
  • transitive v. To cut into small pieces: chop onions; chop up meat.
  • transitive v. To curtail as if by chopping: chopped off his sentence midway; are going to chop expenses.
  • transitive v. Sports To hit or hit at with a short swift downward stroke.
  • intransitive v. To make heavy, cutting strokes.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To move roughly or suddenly.
  • n. The act of chopping.
  • n. A swift, short, cutting blow or stroke.
  • n. Sports A short downward stroke.
  • n. A piece that has been chopped off, especially a cut of meat, usually taken from the rib, shoulder, or loin and containing a bone.
  • n. A short irregular motion of waves.
  • n. An area of choppy water, as on an ocean.
  • intransitive v. To change direction suddenly, as a ship in the wind.
  • n. An official stamp or permit in the Far East.
  • n. A mark stamped on goods or coins to indicate their identity or quality.
  • n. Quality; class: first chop.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cut of meat, often containing a section of a rib.
  • n. A blow with an axe, cleaver, or similar utensil.
  • n. A blow delivered with the hand rigid and outstretched.
  • n. Ocean waves, generally caused by wind, distinguished from swell by being smaller and not lasting as long.
  • n. A hand where two or more players have an equal-valued hand, resulting in the chips being shared equally between them.
  • n. Termination, especially from employment.
  • v. To cut into pieces with short, vigorous cutting motions.
  • v. To sever with an axe or similar implement.
  • v. To hit the ball downward so that it takes a high bounce.
  • v. To divide the pot (or tournament prize) between two or more players.
  • n. An official stamp or seal.
  • n. Mark indicating nature, quality, or brand.
  • v. To exchange, to barter; to swap.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A change; a vicissitude.
  • n. The act of chopping; a stroke.
  • n. A piece chopped off; a slice or small piece, especially of meat.
  • n. A crack or cleft. See Chap.
  • n. A jaw of an animal; -- commonly in the pl. See chops.
  • n. A movable jaw or cheek, as of a wooden vise.
  • n. The land at each side of the mouth of a river, harbor, or channel. See Chops.
  • n. Quality; brand.
  • n. A permit or clearance.
  • v. To crack. See chap, v. t. & i.
  • intransitive v. To make a quick strike, or repeated strokes, with an ax or other sharp instrument.
  • intransitive v. To do something suddenly with an unexpected motion; to catch or attempt to seize.
  • intransitive v. To interrupt; -- with in or out.
  • intransitive v. To purchase by way of truck.
  • intransitive v. To vary or shift suddenly.
  • intransitive v. To wrangle; to altercate; to bandy words.
  • transitive v. To cut by striking repeatedly with a sharp instrument; to cut into pieces; to mince; -- often with up.
  • transitive v. To sever or separate by one more blows of a sharp instrument; to divide; -- usually with off or down.
  • transitive v. To seize or devour greedily; -- with up.
  • transitive v. To barter or truck.
  • transitive v. To exchange; substitute one thing for another.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut with a quick blow of a sharp instrument, as an ax; sever with a sudden stroke, or a succession of such strokes; cut in pieces by repeated strokes; fell; hew; hack; mince: as, to chop off a limb; to chop down a tree; to chop wood or straw; to chop meat.
  • To snap up; gobble.
  • To flog.
  • To put in.
  • To cause to cleave, split, crack, or open longitudinally, as the surface of the earth, or the skin and flesh of the hand or face: in this sense more commonly written chap. See chap, verb, I., 1.
  • To use a cutting instrument, as a cleaver or an ax, with a heavy stroke: as, to spend the day in chopping.—
  • To strike (at); catch (at); do something with a sudden, unexpected motion, like that of a blow.
  • To cut in; come in suddenly in interruption.
  • To utter words suddenly; interrupt by remarking: with in or out: as, he chopped in with a question. See phrases below.—
  • To crack; open in long slits: in this sense more commonly written chap. See chap, verb, II., 1.
  • To barter; truck.—
  • To exchange; substitute, as one thing for another; swap.
  • To bargain; chaffer; higgle.
  • To bandy words; dispute.
  • To turn, vary, change, or shift suddenly: as, the wind chopped or chopped about.
  • In tennis, base-ball, and other games, to strike (the ball) with a short, sharp, glancing stroke.
  • In cricket, to strike down hard, with a horizontal bat, a low ball on the off-side.
  • To cut into short pieces, as straw or silage material; to chaff: sometimes with up.
  • To dig, or dig out, by a downward stroke of the hoe, as opposed to a horizontal movement: often with out.
  • n. A cutting or severing blow; a stroke, especially with some sharp instrument.
  • n. A slice of mutton, lamb, or pork, usually cut from the loin, and containing the rib.
  • n. Figuratively, an extortion; a forced payment.
  • n. In milling, the product of the first crushing or breaking of the wheat in making flour by the modern processes.— 5. A crack, cleft, or chink: in this sense more commonly written chap. See chap, n., 1.
  • n. A turn of fortune; change; vicissitude. Also chap.
  • n. A jaw: usually in the plural, the jaws; the entrance to a harbor. See chap.
  • n. In India, China, etc.: An official mark on weights and measures to show their accuracy. A custom-house stamp or seal on goods that have been passed; a permit or clearance.
  • n. In China, brand; quality: as, silk or tea of the first chop. Hence the colloquial phrase first chop, first rate.—
  • n. A lot of tea to which a common mark or brand is affixed; a brand of tea. A chop may contain a few chests or a large number.
  • n. Material which has been chopped or chaffed. See corn chop.
  • n. In cricket, a stroke in which the bat, held horizontally, is brought, down hard upon a low ball on the off-side.
  • n. An authenticated or authenticating writing or inscription.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. form or shape by chopping
  • v. strike sharply, as in some sports
  • n. a jaw
  • v. cut into pieces
  • n. a small cut of meat including part of a rib
  • n. a grounder that bounces high in the air
  • v. move suddenly
  • v. cut with a hacking tool
  • n. a tennis return made with a downward motion that puts backspin on the ball
  • v. hit sharply
  • n. the irregular motion of waves (usually caused by wind blowing in a direction opposite to the tide)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English choppen, probably variant of chappen, to split; see chap1.
Obsolete, to exchange, from Middle English choppen, to barter, bargain, variant of chapen, from Old English cēapian, from cēap, bargain, trade; see cheap.
Hindi chāp, seal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English choppen, variant of chappen ("to chop"). Akin to Dutch kappen ("to chop, cut, hew"), Middle Low German koppen ("to cut off, lop, poll"), Danish kappe ("to cut, lop off, poll"), Swedish kapa ("to cut"), Albanian copë ("piece, chunk"), Old English *cippian (only attested in compounds). More at chip.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Of uncertain origin, perhaps a variant of chap.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Hindi छाप (ćhāp, "stamp")



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  • A number of different words:

    (1) "cut", thus the cut of meat, and 'get the chop' = "be axed, scrapped, killed", and choppy waves.

    (2) variant of 'chap' = "jaw", usually in plural chaps, chops, thus chapfallen, and the new "skill" sense I noted below.

    (3) "trade, barter" (related to 'cheap', 'chapman', German kaufen "buy", and town names in Chipping), occurring nowadays only in the phrases 'chop and change' and 'chop logic' ("bandy words" but now usually understood as word (1), as if "make fine distinctions")

    (4) from a Hindi word for "impression, stamp", giving commercial senses in India and China such as "seal; licence; trade mark", then colloquially "quality", as in 'not much chop' = "not very good"

    March 23, 2009

  • A new idiom to me: 'shows off its nominal modifier chops'. According to the OED, the general meaning "skill" is a widening of "jazz trumpeter's skill" from "embouchure (in jazz)" from chops "jaws".

    March 23, 2009

  • Not very good at something.

    September 17, 2008