• synonyms


[joul, johl]
  1. a jaw, especially the lower jaw.
  2. the cheek.
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Origin of jowl1

before 1000; Middle English chawl, chavell, Old English ceafl jaw; cognate with Dutch kevel, German Kiefer, Old Norse kjaptr
Related formsjowled, adjective


[joul, johl]
  1. a fold of flesh hanging from the jaw, as of a very fat person.
  2. the meat of the cheek of a hog.
  3. the dewlap of cattle.
  4. the wattle of fowls.
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Also jole.

Origin of jowl2

1275–1325; Middle English cholle, Old English ceole throat; cognate with German Kehle throat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for jowls

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He nodded, and this time his jowls bobbled instead of wobbled.

    A Spaceship Named McGuire

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • The wub waited good-naturedly, licking the water from its jowls.

    Beyond Lies the Wub

    Philip Kindred Dick

  • The cat was heavier now and licking his jowls with contentment.

    Plowing On Sunday

    Sterling North

  • Jowls and beans were cheap; he could afford to be liberal with that meal.

    The Bondboy

    George W. (George Washington) Ogden

  • When at length she gave it up, his jowls were only a few shades lighter.

    Joan Thursday

    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for jowls


  1. the jaw, esp the lower one
  2. (often plural) a cheek, esp a prominent one
  3. cheek by jowl See cheek (def. 7)
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Derived Formsjowled, adjective

Word Origin

Old English ceafl jaw; related to Middle High German kivel, Old Norse kjaptr


  1. fatty flesh hanging from the lower jaw
  2. a similar fleshy part in animals, such as the wattle of a fowl or the dewlap of a bull
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Word Origin

Old English ceole throat; compare Old High German kela
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 jowls



"fold of flesh under the jaw," 1590s, alteration of Middle English cholle "fold of flesh hanging from the jaw" (c.1300), perhaps from Old English ceole "throat," from PIE *gwele- "to swallow" (see glut). This word and jowl (n.1) influenced one another in form and sense.

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"jaw," 1570s, alteration of Middle English chawl (late 14c.), chavel (early 14c.), from Old English ceafl, from Proto-Germanic *kefalaz (cf. Middle High German kiver, German kiefer, Old Norse kjoptr "jaw," Danish kæft, Flemish kavel, Dutch kevel "gum"), from PIE *gep(h)- "jaw, mouth" (cf. Old Irish gop, Irish gob "beak, mouth"). The change from ch- to j- has not been explained.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with jowls


see cheek by jowl.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.