Definition of choppy in US English:



  • 1(of a sea or river) having many small waves.

    ‘sea conditions are often very choppy’
    ‘heavy, choppy seas’
    • ‘The young actress was one of several crew members who found the choppy seas of the Caribbean a little unsettling.’
    • ‘The rough crossing in the cold and choppy waters from the U.K. to the shores of North America took 10 days.’
    • ‘The fishing is divided into Upper, Middle and Lower beats and offers a mixture of falls, deep holding pools and choppy fly-fishing streams.’
    • ‘Search vessels and helicopters continued scouring the choppy seas despite fading hopes of finding the nine still missing from the boat.’
    • ‘On our first morning in Havana, the ocean was still choppy from a storm the night before.’
    • ‘The bad weather and choppy waves meant the ice was breaking up; the piece of ice they were on had broken away from the main body.’
    • ‘It doesn't look like it's too choppy right now, the waves don't look very big.’
    • ‘If you imagine the ground as the surface of a sea, these waves range from ripples to choppy whitecaps to long, slow swells.’
    • ‘Vu again shot away from the start, rowing more comfortably than his heavier rivals in the choppy water.’
    • ‘Added to that, there's not much in the way of waves, either, which is just as well, as the last thing you need when you're trying to balance on a narrow board is a choppy sea.’
    • ‘I was interested in the geese feeding at the edge of a very choppy River Aire.’
    • ‘He joked about his unexpected arrival by car after choppy seas prevented a sea-borne landing.’
    • ‘There aren't too many women who would brave the choppy waters of Lough Arrow and catch some of its famous trout.’
    • ‘Ahead of us, all I could see was a wide horizon with no end to the choppy seas.’
    • ‘I'm sitting behind Tommy and five other former whalers in a whale observation tent high above the choppy seas of Cook Strait.’
    • ‘The ride toward a fully connected community has been as choppy as Lake Michigan on a windy fall day.’
    • ‘He was still staring impassively out over the choppy, angry waters of Blackwood Lake.’
    • ‘Our teacher was using the ocean as a simile for the mind: the ocean was rough and choppy on the surface, she said, but silent and still at its vast depths.’
    • ‘A stubborn current began to muscle against the raft as 5-foot waves peeled off choppy waters.’
    • ‘Modak said that a small quantity of the ship's oil had leaked but had been broken up and taken out to sea by yesterday's choppy swells.’
    rough, full of waves, turbulent, heavy, heaving, storm-tossed, stormy, tempestuous, squally
    View synonyms
  • 2Having a disjointed or jerky quality.

    ‘the choppy, electronic beat of hip hop’
    • ‘Certainly, the choppy English should not reflect poorly on the quality of the information presented.’
    • ‘Their sensitive blips-and-bleeps, combined with choppy beats, gave them a texture similar to the Scottish duo, ‘Boards of Canada.’’
    • ‘Her notes were bouncy and choppy and her audience was pressed for breath.’
    • ‘Our other issue with the preview version of the game was the choppy frame rate and uneven sense of speed.’
    • ‘The story is divided into five parts that makes the writing choppy, uneven and confusing.’
    bouncy, rough, uncomfortable, jolting, jolty, lurching, jerky, jumpy, jarring, bone-shaking, bone-breaking, jouncy, jouncing, turbulent
    View synonyms
  • 3Denoting or relating to a hairstyle in which layers and sections of hair are cut at different lengths.

    ‘a choppy bob’
    • ‘Our jaws hit the floor when we first spotted Jennifer Lawrence's new choppy cut.’
    • ‘Mia's short cut and choppy fringe are more versatile than you think.’
    • ‘Her long locks have vanished and she's got a new choppy bob.’
    • ‘The choppy, layered cut is used by hairdressers to make it seem as though their clients' hair is thicker than it really is.’
    • ‘That beach breeze is doing wonders for her choppy blonde hair.’
    • ‘The crowd stood and cheered when the two appeared together, Romo sporting a choppy bob instead of her famous long locks.’
    • ‘Together they've made Julianne's choppy bob one of Hollywood's most copied cuts.’
    • ‘Queen of gamine style, Audrey Tautou's choppy pixie has been her mainstay for quite a while now.’
    • ‘The choppy, shoulder-length cut with lots of layers is a really good look for spring.’
    • ‘Her hair has been cropped into a cute, choppy, shoulder-length haircut that seems to be particularly on-trend for spring.’


Early 17th century (in the sense ‘full of chaps or clefts’): from chop + -y.