Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 8, 2020 is:

chapfallen • CHAP-faw-lun  • adjective

1 : having the lower jaw hanging loosely

2 : cast down in spirit : depressed


“His appearance caused shouts of merriment in the camp,—but Tom for once could not join in the mirth raised at his expense: he was completely chapfallen….” — Washington Irving, Adventures of Captain Bonneville, 1837

“This season or next, don’t bet on them turning a profit without making the playoffs. They need to do that next year to satisfy perennially chapfallen fans, if nothing else.” — David J. Neal, The Miami Herald, 7 Feb. 2006

Did you know?

A variant spelling of the adjective chapfallen is 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 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, which is a physical sign of dejection.

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