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verb (used with object), chapped, chap·ping.
  1. to crack, roughen, and redden (the skin): The windy, cold weather chapped her lips.
  2. to cause (the ground, wood, etc.) to split, crack, or open in clefts: The summer heat and drought chapped the riverbank.
verb (used without object), chapped, chap·ping.
  1. to become chapped.
  1. a fissure or crack, especially in the skin.
  2. Scot. a knock; rap.

Origin of chap1

1275–1325; Middle English chappen; cognate with Dutch kappen to cut; akin to chip1
Related formsun·chapped, adjective


  1. Chiefly British Informal: Older Use. a fellow; man or boy.
  2. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. a baby or young child.
  3. British Dialect. a customer.

Origin of chap2

First recorded in 1570–80; short for chapman


[chop, chap]
  1. chop3.

Origin of chap3

1325–75; Middle English; perhaps special use of chap1


or Chap.

  1. Chaplain.
  2. chapter.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for chap


verb chaps, chapping or chapped
  1. (of the skin) to make or become raw and cracked, esp by exposure to cold
  2. Scot (of a clock) to strike (the hour)
  3. Scot to knock (at a door, window, etc)
  1. (usually plural) a cracked or sore patch on the skin caused by chapping
  2. Scot a knock

Word Origin

C14: probably of Germanic origin; compare Middle Dutch, German kappen to chop off


  1. informal a man or boy; fellow

Word Origin

C16 (in the sense: buyer): shortened from chapman


  1. a less common word for chop 3


abbreviation for
  1. chaplain
  2. chapter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for chap


1570s, "customer," short for obsolete chapman "purchaser, trader" (see cheap). Colloquial sense of "lad, fellow" is first attested 1716 (cf. slang tough customer).


"to crack," mid-15c., chappen (intransitive) "to split, burst open;" "cause to crack" (transitive); perhaps a variant of choppen (see chop (v.), and cf. strap/strop), or related to Middle Dutch kappen "to chop, cut," Danish kappe, Swedish kappa "to cut." Related: Chapped; chapping. The noun meaning "fissure in the skin" is from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper