Chop and Change

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Chop and Change : Phrases


To change and change again.


Chop is a now archaic word which was used in the 17th century to mean exchange. So, 'to chop and change' is rather tautological as it just means 'change and change'.

The first printed example of it that we have is from Robert Greene's The Blacke Bookes Messenger - The Life and death of Ned Browne, a notable Cutpurse and Conny-catcher [thief and cheat], 1592: casting mine eye on a pretty wench, a mans wife well knowne about London, I fell in loue with her ... whereuppon her husband, a kind Knaue, and one euerie way as base a companion as my selfe, agreed to me, and we bet a bargaine, that I should haue his Wife, and he should haue mine ... so wee like two good Horse-corsers, made a choppe and change.

Francis Grose, in his Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811 gives a slightly negative meaning to 'chop' as a slang term:

"TO CHOP AND CHANGE. To exchange backwards and forwards. To chop, in the canting sense, means making dispatch, or hurrying over any business."

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