bust my chops

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bust my chops

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:49 pm

Hi - I searched for this but didn't find it! I'd like to know the origin of the phrase: "bust my chops". Any thoughts?

Thanks!
Submitted by Rug Smith (Seattle - U.S.A.)
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bust my chops

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 05, 2004 6:03 pm

Oh - I also meant to ask, how exactly is this phrase used? I hear people say "you're just busting my chops" - and I imagine it means "you're giving me a hard time" - but is that correct?

Thanks!
Reply from Rug Smith (Seattle - U.S.A.)
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bust my chops

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 05, 2004 6:17 pm

I Cheat

Phrase Finder:

Re: "Busting my chops"--origin
Posted by masakim on November 25, 2001 at 21:37:03:

In Reply to: Re: "Busting my chops"--origin posted by R. Berg on November 25, 2001 at 02:39:40:

: : 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_ (1995) 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)
Reply from Gary Wallington (Akolele - Australia)
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bust my chops

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 05, 2004 6:32 pm

What? No one recalls our nimble fingered scrivener Bill S's use of the antecedent to "chops?" For shame!

"Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix'd his head upon our battlements."

MacBeth, Act I, Scene 2
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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bust my chops

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 05, 2004 6:46 pm

Rug, The above gives a good explanation of the derivation of BUST . . . CHOPS and examples of usage. Here’s a clarification on its definitions:

BUST MY CHOPS: To work hard, exert myself to the extreme, perform to my utmost,. Here, ‘bust’ is often replaced by BREAK, and ‘chops’ is often replaced by ASS, SWEET ASS, TAIL, BUNS, BUTT, HUMP, NUTS, BALLS. “I busted my chops for every good grade I got.” The expression is also sometimes similarly expressed as WORKING MY CHOPS OFF.

BUST/BREAK SOMEONE’S CHOPS: To harass or ‘give someone else a hard time’ by the forcible exertion of one’s authority. Also, to make a nuisance of oneself, anger, annoy, or frustrate. “He enjoyed busting people’s chops by finding fault with some small part of every task they performed.”

There are two other ‘chop-busting’ expressions which I don’t see used much nowadays, but which do appear in slang dictionaries: ‘bust one’s chops’ – to talk incessantly; punch in the mouth or face.

All of the above expressions first appeared in the second half of the 20th century. See previous posting for relevant quotes.

(Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang)
___________________

Ken G – April 23, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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