Definition of chops in US English:


plural noun

  • 1A person's or animal's mouth or jaws.

    ‘a smack in the chops’
    • ‘The beast sneered at the cut on the man's shoulder and licked its chops.’
    • ‘Old or not, he replied testily, that little shark was about to sink his chops into my leg.’
    • ‘More recently the same liberals have, of course, been publicly licking their unseemly chops at his widely publicized personal setbacks.’
    • ‘For toddlers, there are special little ones for hands and faces, just in case you contemplate wiping a sibling's jam-smeared chops with a wipe designed for their baby brother's bottom.’
    • ‘His chops curled back to reveal the fangs, laid-back yet potentially lethal.’
    • ‘Realizing now was time for action, he rolled from the snapping ivory teeth, the chops nipping at his feet as he narrowly escaped.’
    • ‘One can almost imagine Davis, under the window, telephoto lens extended, chops licked, ready for the fashion pounce.’
    1. 1.1 A person's cheeks; jowls.
      • ‘Much as I'm a fan of Victoriana, I draw the line at Dickensian chops.’
      • ‘Ever since Salome strutted her stuff for a plateful of chops (those would be the rather bristly chops of John the Baptist), women have recognised their power.’
      • ‘And every morning she slaps him right across the chops.’
      • ‘Griffiths said words were unnecessary as he had administered a swift hand to the chops of the new world number one.’
      • ‘He trots his portly frame around the house, running up every day to say good morning to Mia and every day getting his chops slapped for his trouble.’
      • ‘If I could actually prove that he was a bigot I would be minded to slap him one round the chops.’
  • 2The technical skill of a musician, especially one who plays jazz.

    ‘when I'm on tour my chops go down’
    • ‘There's no doubting the chops of Holland and his big band, but the songs and vocal efforts are a mixed bag of goods.’
    • ‘The version of ‘Sombrero Sam’, however, really allows Emerson's funky keyboard chops to come to the fore.’
    • ‘More than that, he made a decent record, one that might betray his lack of metal songwriting chops, but also his utter sincerity about playing this music for anyone within earshot.’
    • ‘What the band lacks in originality (not to mention coherence and subtlety), it more than makes up for with committed chops and indefatigable energy.’
    • ‘Once possessing a powerful rebel yell and some melodic chops, this aging punk rocker offers up a bland collection of songs.’
    • ‘These guys are demanding attention and they can get away with being arrogant because this album has the chops to prove it.’
    • ‘Regardless, Nastasia is an artist worth following, possessing the chops and songwriting skills to justify a long and fruitful career.’
    • ‘The band's jazz chops are quite apparent in Garcia's tasteful playing and Phil Lesh's lead bass licks.’
    • ‘Earlier albums such as ‘Images and Words’ showed they had the chops, even though some of the songs turned into poorly-structured jams.’
    • ‘On record, O'Callaghan is a delight, setting her classically-trained chops loose on a dizzying blend of cabaret, jazz and sophisticated pop.’
    • ‘Nat was another person who combined great jazz chops with popularity.’
    • ‘The album's real strengths lay in the exploratory solo songs, which blended old soul vocals, horns, guitars and super-tight drum chops into seamless concoctions that often had the feel of a real band.’
    • ‘His youth becomes a complete non-issue literally from the get-go, as he displays incredible chops on both acoustic and electric guitar and on the piano.’
    • ‘They are a talented rock band, a post-rock group cut loose from the Chicago school, their chops honed to indie perfection.’
    • ‘They're not young men anymore, but Jackson and Co. still have solid chops and plenty of stamina, relying on themselves and no outside musicians, just like the old days.’
    • ‘His blues are powerful without being mawkish, his jazz adept and tasteful, his funk chops always an example to others.’
    • ‘His growth has never been in question, exploding with complicated chops and orchestrations on every album.’
    • ‘Also, the trio has not completely figured out how to use its dazzling chops effectively without interfering with the main objective: to communicate with the listener.’
    • ‘No flash in the pan, no gimmick needed, they back up their chops with integrity and experience.’
    • ‘Some of my favorite albums consist of campfire singalongs by bands with modest acoustic guitar chops, cute names and even cuter accents.’


  • bust one's chops

    • informal Exert oneself.

      • ‘I've been training twice a day all year, busting my chops basically to make this team and now it's happened I'm stoked.’
      • ‘If anything, you mainlanders are busting your chops to get here and spend your loot on our cheaper property and housing markets; some in excess of $200,000 cheaper than anything in Melbourne or Sydney.’
      • ‘Their educational credentials range from Berkeley to New York, and all have busted their chops extensively playing every kind of gig imaginable - from rock bands to jazz troupes, from symphonies to bluegrass bands.’
      • ‘I came into university division coaching with the same mentality, different method, but going in the same direction where I wanted people to have fun, but I also wanted people to bust their chops to swim fast.’
      • ‘‘They busted their chops to get their bid together,’ he said of the local government.’
      make an effort, try hard, strive, endeavour, apply oneself, do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, give one's all, make every effort, spare no effort, be at pains, put oneself out
      View synonyms
  • bust someone's chops

    • informal Nag or criticize someone.

      • ‘‘You used to be the one busting my chops,’ Steve told Maria.’
      • ‘That's all I need, having the boss watch my every move so he can bust my chops.’
      • ‘Not that he shies from making contact - actually, he's quite the opposite of shy - but if he does, it'll be to bust the chops of some poor wide receiver.’
      • ‘So as part of the customer service team, it will be your job to make prank calls to these companies and to basically ‘bust their chops’.’
      • ‘‘If one of us was lagging, the other three would bust his chops about it,’ says Yancey.’
      • ‘I know I bust your chops a lot, but you're a real good kid.’
      • ‘Larry and Mimi have lots of help and support to offer if and when I need it, and they don't bust my chops when I don't.’
      • ‘I'll stop busting your chops about Dante, I swear.’
      • ‘You can't bust my chops for telling him about the place.’
      • ‘And you will bust your kid's chops if he or she screws it up.’
      • ‘Look, I know I've been really hard on you in the past, and I've busted your chops for a lot of things that really weren't your fault.’
      • ‘On that score, as long as I have him on the line, I feel it's my duty to bust his chops a bit on behalf of crestfallen kids everywhere.’
      • ‘Passport control officers entered the train, and immediately started busting the chops of everyone in our cabin.’


Late Middle English: variant of chap.