See more synonyms for chop on
  1. Usually chops. the jaw.
  2. chops,
    1. the oral cavity; mouth.
    2. Slang.the embouchure or technique necessary to play a wind instrument.
    3. Slang.musical ability on any instrument, especially in playing jazz or rock; technical virtuosity.
    4. Slang.the music or musical part played by an instrumentalist, especially a solo passage.
  3. an entranceway, as into a body of water.
  4. Horology. either of two pieces clasping the end of the suspension spring of a pendulum.
  1. bust one's chops, Slang. to exert oneself.
  2. bust someone's chops, Slang. to annoy with nagging or criticism: Stop busting my chops—I'll get the job done.
  3. lick one's chops, to await with pleasure; anticipate; relish: He was already licking his chops over the expected inheritance.
Also chap.

Origin of chop

1350–1400; Middle English; perhaps special use of chop1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for lick one's chops

salivate, dribble, slobber, slaver

British Dictionary definitions for lick one's chops


verb chops, chopping or chopped
  1. (often foll by down or off) to cut (something) with a blow from an axe or other sharp tool
  2. (tr) to produce or make in this mannerto chop firewood
  3. (tr often foll by up) to cut into pieces
  4. (tr) British informal to dispense with or reduce
  5. (intr) to move quickly or violently
  6. sport to hit (a ball) sharply downwards
  7. boxing martial arts to punch or strike (an opponent) with a short sharp blow
  8. Western African an informal word for eat
  1. a cutting blow
  2. the act or an instance of chopping
  3. a piece chopped off
  4. a slice of mutton, lamb, or pork, generally including a rib
  5. Australian and NZ slang a share (esp in the phrase get or hop in for one's chop)
  6. Western African an informal word for food
  7. Australian and NZ a competition of skill and speed in chopping logs
  8. sport a sharp downward blow or stroke
  9. not much chop Australian and NZ informal not much good; poor
  10. the chop slang dismissal from employment

Word Origin for chop

C16: variant of chap 1


verb chops, chopping or chopped
  1. (intr) to change direction suddenly; vacillate (esp in the phrase chop and change)
  2. obsolete to barter
  3. chop logic to use excessively subtle or involved logic or argument

Word Origin for chop

Old English ceapian to barter; see cheap, chapman


  1. a design stamped on goods as a trademark, esp in the Far East

Word Origin for chop

C17: from Hindi chhāp
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 lick one's chops



"to cut with a quick blow," mid-14c., of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old North French choper (Old French coper "to cut, cut off," 12c., Modern French couper), from Vulgar Latin *cuppare "to behead," from a root meaning "head," but influenced in Old French by couper "to strike." Related: Chopped; chopping.



"shift quickly," 1530s, earlier "to bargain" (early 15c.), ultimately from Old English ceapian "to bargain" (see cheap); here with a sense of "changing back and forth," probably from common expressions such as to chop and change "barter." To chop logic is recorded from 1570s. Related: Chopped; chopping.



"act of chopping," mid-14c., from chop (v.1). Meaning "piece cut off" is mid-15c.; specifically "slice of meat" from mid-17c. Sense of "a blow, strike" is from 1550s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with lick one's chops

lick one's chops

Also, lick one's lips. Anticipate with great pleasure. For example, The kids were licking their chops as Mother described the family vacation plans, or I couldn't help but lick my lips when she talked about the menu. Both expressions allude to anticipating a tasty morsel of food. The second is the older, dating from about 1500 and used interchangeably with lick one's fingers, now seldom heard. The first also served as 1930s jazz slang for warming up, chops meaning “the jaw or mouth” (a usage dating from the 1300s).

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