I remember hearing this line in an old American comedy TV program
A guy starts kissing his boss's hand because he gave him a promotion, and the boss says "be careful (or was it, Stop it, I think, but not so sure) I chap easily"
This was supposed to be a funny line but I don't understand what it means
I think to chap means for the skin to become rough and cracked as in a cold winter, but what does it mean in this context and why is it supposed to be funny?

  • 3
    The guy wanted to show his gratitude for the boss being so kind to him. However, the boss warns him that he can also be "hard, irritable, unpleasant" if needed, without much provocation. The use of chap in literal and metaphorical senses is a pun.
    – Kris
    Mar 1, 2015 at 6:25
  • I had more of a feeling it had something to do with him kissing the boss's skin
    – user13267
    Mar 1, 2015 at 12:22
  • True. It is usually said in the context of kissing on the lips, lips being most vulnerable to chapping, especially in cold climate. However, here it is used just for pun, though.
    – Kris
    Mar 1, 2015 at 12:26
  • 1
    Repeatedly wetting the skin can cause it to "chap" or become sore. (It's a dilemma faced by many highly romantic couples.) While there is virtually no chance that kissing on the hand could cause "chapping", the boss was slightly exaggerating.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 1, 2015 at 13:04
  • Hot Licks is right. He was humorously telling the toady not to get his skin too wet - there was no warning, hidden or otherwise, beyond that.
    – Liane
    Feb 19, 2017 at 7:16

2 Answers 2


Are you all kidding?

Kissing the boss' hand was a sycophantic display.

"...I chap easily," means:

"If you kiss my hand too much, the skin will become chapped from the excess moisture - and it will be irritating to me - which will not be good for you."

It's the boss' way of saying: "If you kiss my butt too much, it'll backfire on you."

Get it?


I believe when he said "be careful I Chap easily" he meant, as @Kris said above, I can be rough easily (without much provocation).

verb: (of the skin) become cracked, rough, or sore, typically through exposure to cold weather. synonyms: become raw, become sore, become inflamed, chafe, crack "my skin chapped in the wind"; (of the wind or cold) cause (skin) to crack through exposure to cold weather. "chapped lips" synonyms: dry, cracked, rough "chapped hands"

noun: chap; plural noun: chaps, a cracked or sore patch on the skin.

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