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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.
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verb (used without object), chapped, chap·ping.
  1. to become chapped.
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  1. a fissure or crack, especially in the skin.
  2. Scot. a knock; rap.
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Origin of chap1

1275–1325; Middle English chappen; cognate with Dutch kappen to cut; akin to chip1
Related formsun·chapped, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for chapped

Historical Examples

  • All servants love to get swollen knees, and chilblains and chapped hands.

    If Winter Don't

    Barry Pain

  • Almond Paste for Chapped Hands (which will preserve them smooth and white).

  • I'm going to buy him a pair of wristlets, his wrists are so chapped.

  • Choppy is not so often used as chapped: it is a poetical use of the word.

  • It will keep a long while, and is a perfect cure for chapped lips.

    The Toilet of Flora

    Pierre-Joseph Buc'hoz

British Dictionary definitions for chapped


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)
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  1. (usually plural) a cracked or sore patch on the skin caused by chapping
  2. Scot a knock
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Word Origin

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


  1. informal a man or boy; fellow
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Word Origin

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


  1. a less common word for chop 3
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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 chapped



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

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"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chapped in Medicine


  1. Having or relating to skin that is dry, scaly, and fissured, owing to excessive evaporation of moisture from the skin surface.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.