Chop and change

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 21, 2005

In Reply to: Chop and change posted by Smokey Stover on April 21, 2005

: : : Does anyone have any ideas as to the meaning and origin of the phrase "chop and change."?

: : Change is understandable but Chop? I can find no modern origin, but in my 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tonge the expression was in use and chop was slang for "making dispatch, or hurrying over any business", hence our modern saying "Chop, chop" when urging someone to hurry.

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines "chop" as "to barter", from the Old English verb "ceapian", which is the origin of the adjective "cheap"; the noun "chapman" meaning "trader, pedlar"; the street name Cheapside in the City of London; and "Chipping" meaning "market" in the names of several placenames in England such as Chipping Camden and Chipping Norton. Thus "to chop and change" means "to barter and exchange".