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Definition jaw

Etymology 1

From Middle English jawe, jowe, geowe, alteration of *chawe (in early Modern English chawe, chaw), from Proto-Germanic *kawǭ (compare Middle Dutch kauwe (“fish jaw”), kouwe (“mouth cavity”), dialectal German Käu, Keu (“jaw, donkey jowl”)), gradation-variant of *kewǭ (compare Old English ċīan (pl.) ‘gills’, West Frisian kiuw (“gill”), Dutch kieuw (“gill”)), noun from Proto-Germanic *kewwaną (compare English chew). More at chew. Alteration probably influenced by Middle English jolle, chaul (“jowl”), which it replaced (see jowl).


jaw (plural jaws)

  1. One of the bones, usually bearing teeth, which form the framework of the mouth.
  2. The part of the face below the mouth.
  3. (figuratively) Anything resembling the jaw of an animal in form or action; especially plural, the mouth or way of entrance.
  4. A notch or opening.
  5. A notched or forked part, adapted for holding an object in place.
  6. One of a pair of opposing parts which are movable towards or from each other, for grasping or crushing anything between them.
  7. (nautical) The inner end of a boom or gaff, hollowed in a half circle so as to move freely on a mast.
  8. (slang, dated) Impudent or abusive talk.
  9. (slang) Axle guard.
  10. (snooker) The curved part of the cushion marking the entry to the pocket.

jaw (third-person singular simple present jaws, present participle jawing, simple past and past participle jawed)

  1. (transitive) To assail or abuse by scolding.
  2. (intransitive) To scold; to clamor.
  3. (intransitive, informal) To talk; to converse.
  4. (snooker, transitive, intransitive) (of a ball) To stick in the jaws of a pocket.

Etymology 2

Uncertain, see Jew's harp for more.


jaw (not comparable)

  1. (used in certain set phrases like jaw harp, jaw harpist and jaw's-trump)

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