What is the etymology of the phrase "what's-someone's-chops"?

Grey Cooper? The one who's married to Amanda what's-her-chops?

What's his chops from Green Day has perfect pitch!

Apart from what's his chops six shooter, which is actually pretty good, but the other weapons suck.

Your correspondent goes through a minimum of three bottles of the stuff every Christmas which makes it just as literary as Hemingway's daiquiris or the vile Pink Lady cocktails Zelda and what's his chops Fitzgerald used to drink.

  • Hi Faemu! Where did you already look for an answer and what have you found, so far? This information should be in your question or you might risk it being closed for lack of research. – Kristina Lopez Jul 14 '16 at 13:37
  • This is potentially a good question, please include your source. – user66974 Jul 14 '16 at 14:00
  • 2
    This is purely speculative, and something I might poke about at later when I've time: I've seen elsewhere reference to 'earning one's chops being related to a term for personal seals in east asia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_(East_Asia) ? (see the last para before the 'contents' box for 'chop' reference). I can imagine it being a British colonial sort of expression that peoplel resorted to when unable to recall the unfamiliar syllables of non-anglo names. – Spagirl Jul 14 '16 at 14:58
  • What research? There is absolutely nothing on the Internet and in the dictionary about this phrase. I've heard it on TV, in the TV series called Lucifer (the first passage). The main character used it. The other sentences is some random stuff I dug up from the Internet. There didn't seem to be a lot of entries with that phrase in Google. Thank you, Spagirl. This sounds quite plausible. – Fae Jul 14 '16 at 22:22

I think it's a variant of :

What's his face/What's his name.

Sl. someone whose name has been forgotten; someone whose name is being avoided. Was what's his name there? I never can remember his name. I can't remember what's his face's name either. McGraw-Hill Idioms

And chops can (sort of) mean face :

: The part of an animal's face that covers the jaws.
: A person's jaw — M-W

onlineslangdictionary.com says explicitly that chops can mean :

Noun. Face

  • 1
    Yeah, I've never heard "what's his chops", but "what's-his-face" (generally said as one word) is a casual (but not terribly impolite) way to identify someone whose name you can't remember. However, "chops" has easily a dozen diverse definitions, so it's hard to say with any certainty, without having familiarity with the expression. – Hot Licks Jul 15 '16 at 12:21
  • It is worth noting that one meaning of "chops" revolves around skill playing a horn, so "what's-his-chops" might likely be substituted for "what's-his-face" when referring to a musician, in an attempt to add a bit of whimsy. – Hot Licks Jul 15 '16 at 12:25

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