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Etymology 1[edit]

Shortened from chapman (dealer, customer) in 16th century English.


chap (plural chaps)

  1. (dated outside Britain and Australia) A man, a fellow.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      A chap named Eleazir Kendrick and I had chummed in together the summer afore and built a fish-weir and shanty at Setuckit Point, down Orham way. For a spell we done pretty well.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 20, in The China Governess[1]:
      ‘No. I only opened the door a foot and put my head in. The street lamps shine into that room. I could see him. He was all right. Sleeping like a great grampus. Poor, poor chap.’
    Who’s that chap over there?
  2. (Britain, dialectal) A customer, a buyer.
    • Steele
      If you want to sell, here is your chap.
  3. (Southern US) A child.
Derived terms[edit]
  • Pennsylvania German: Tschaepp (guy)

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English chappen, from Old English *ċeappian, from Proto-Germanic *kapp- (to strike, cut). Cognate with Dutch kappen (to cut, chop, hack). Related to chip.


chap (third-person singular simple present chaps, present participle chapping, simple past and past participle chapped)

  1. (intransitive) Of the skin, to split or flake due to cold weather or dryness.
  2. (transitive) To cause to open in slits or chinks; to split; to cause the skin of to crack or become rough.
    • Blackmore
      Then would unbalanced heat licentious reign, / Crack the dry hill, and chap the russet plain.
    • Lyly
      Nor winter's blast chap her fair face.
  3. (Scotland, Northern England) To strike, knock.
    • 2008, James Kelman, Kieron Smith, Boy, Penguin 2009, page 35:
      The door was shut into my class. I had to chap it and then Miss Rankine came and opened it and gived me an angry look []
Derived terms[edit]


chap (plural chaps)

  1. A cleft, crack, or chink, as in the surface of the earth, or in the skin.
  2. (obsolete) A division; a breach, as in a party.
    • T. Fuller
      Many clefts and chaps in our council board.
  3. (Scotland) A blow; a rap.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Northern English chafts (jaws).


chap (plural chaps)

  1. (archaic, often in the plural) The jaw.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare
      This wide-chapp'd rascal—would thou might'st lie drowning / The washing of ten tides!
    • Cowley
      His chaps were all besmeared with crimson blood.
    • Shakespeare
      He unseamed him from the nave to the chaps.
  2. One of the jaws or cheeks of a vice, etc.

Etymology 4[edit]



chap (plural chaps)

  1. (Internet slang) Abbreviation of chapter. (division of a text)

See also[edit]




chap m (plural chappen, diminutive chappie n)

  1. Alternative spelling of sjap.