phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: "Busting my chops"--origin

Posted by Masakim on November 25, 2001

In Reply to: Re: "Busting my chops"--origin posted by R. Berg on November 25, 2001

: : Origin & meaning of "Busting my chops"?

: "Chop" has meant jaw for about 500 years; earliest quotation in Oxford English Dict. is 1505. Earliest quot. for "chops," plural, meaning the jaws, the mouth, and the parts around the mouth, is 1589. It is in this sense that we speak of licking one's chops. OED says the plural "is the more usual form in contemptuous or humorous application to men." Representative quot.: "My chops begin to water" (Fielding, 1733).

: I'll leave the meaning to those who are sure of it. The expression may be regional.

break (or bust) chops v phr 1970s To injure; punish; literally, to break someone's face or mouth: "But busting Luana's chops by busting her boyfriend's wasn't going to exactly get me in her good graces" --Stan Cutler
break (or bust) someone's chops 1970s 1 v phr To verbally assault someone; harass: "I love it here. I can work hung over and nobody busts my chops" --National Lampoon / "Well, she turned absolutely livid, and ever since she's been busting my chops" --Lawrence Sanders 2 v phr = BUST one's ASS [i.e., to work or perform to one's utmost; exert oneself mightily]
From _Dictionary of American Slang, Third Edition_ by R.L. Chapman

If Thorpe can get ten for busting his chops way back in 1930, I can get morean five from Louie. (Neugeboren, _Big Man_, 1966)

And the two ladies in room 409 ... busted my chops about regulating the oxygen. (Zindel, __Your Mind_, 1970)