chap·​fall·​en | \ ˈchap-ˌfȯ-lən How to pronounce chapfallen (audio) , ˈchäp- \
variants: or less commonly \ ˈchäp-​ How to pronounce chapfallen (audio) \

Definition of chapfallen

1 : having the lower jaw hanging loosely
2 : cast down in spirit : depressed

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Chapfallen is also commonly written as "chopfallen," a spelling that may help us to better understand this somewhat unusual word. The "chap" in chapfallen is a word that dates back to at least the 16th century. It refers to the fleshy covering of the jaw or to the jaw itself and is often used in the plural, as in "the wolf licked its chaps." If that phrase doesn't seem to quite right to you, it is likely because you are more familiar with "chops," an alteration of "chaps" which is also used to refer to the jaw or the mouth. "Fallen" is the past participle of "fall." Thus, to be "chapfallen" or "chopfallen" is, literally, to have one's jaw in a fallen or lower position.

First Known Use of chapfallen

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of chapfallen was in 1597

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Last Updated

4 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chapfallen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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