I've seen the expression industrial chops in a few texts, but looking at them all, and seeing the definition of chop in a dictionary did not provide me a clear meaning.

In this way, 3D printing is more in line with with Kickstarter and Etsy, where people are delving into product development in ways that previously required storefronts, industrial chops and sizeable investments. (from http://airshipdaily.com/blog/3d-printing-separating-science-fiction-from-reality)

The Aussie software supremo challenged the Tesla and Space X founder to help out, and prove the industrial chops of his batteries in the process. (from https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/tesla-wins-contract-stabilise-south-australia%E2%80%99s-power-system-world%E2%80%99s-largest-battery-ck)

The inefficiencies at the plants are immediately familiar to anyone with experience of modern corporate Australia, despite their probable lack of Ireland-esque industrial chops. (from http://peteg.org/blog/noise/books/2016-06-30-DavidIreland-TheUnknownIndustrialPrisoner.autumn)

They seem a sort of non-American slang or jargon, but I cannot infer the precise meaning of chop in this case.

From Merriam-Webster, chop as a noun:

Definition of chop (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : a forceful usually slanting blow with or as if with an ax or cleaver

b : a sharp downward blow or stroke

2 : a small cut of meat often including part of a rib

3 : a mark made by or as if by chopping

4 : material that has been chopped up

5a : a short abrupt motion (as of a wave)

5b : a stretch of choppy sea

6 : chopper sense 6 (a high-bouncing batted baseball)

7 chiefly British : abrupt elimination or removal (as from a job)

it is the very top men who have got the chop — Daily Mirror


2 Answers 2


I looked up plural chops in Wiktionary: "One's skill at any endeavor; ability, talent; competency."

Hence, "industrial chops" = "industrial skills", "industrial competency".

Sometimes you've got to investigate plural meanings - there can be additional meanings for the plural form of a word.

  • 17
    A kudo to you for bringing up the fact that trying to look up a word after taking the -s off the end may not work. Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 19:04
  • 9
    The plural thing is an excellent point. Yes, kudos to you.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 19:10
  • 1
    "Chop" is something you can do to an onion. "Chops" is the skill to chop onions quickly.
    – Andrew
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 23:06
  • 7
    For interest: The meaning of "chops" for "skills", is from the meaning of chops as in your mouth/jaw. In 1940s Jazz; players who could use their mouth well, were said to have "[good] chops" (or similar) - and the slang for chops meaning skills developed.
    – user68033
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 12:25
  • This is definitely the answer. A fairly common use is to refer to "Acting Chops". For example: "It's a tough role, but I think Mr Cumberbatch has the acting chops to pull it off!" Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 14:04

@CowperKettle's answer already tackles the question just fine, but since you used Merriam-Webster in the question I want to add an answer from that source.

You looked up chop on Merriam-Webster, but they also have a separate entry for chops:

Definition of chops

  1. JAW
  2. a. MOUTH
    b. the fleshy covering of the jaws
    // a dog licking its chops
    broadly : the technical facility of a musical performer
  4. expertise in a particular field or activity
    // acting chops

(Emphasis mine)

Your examples all use the 4th definition above. As @CowperKettle pointed out, this is a case where the plural version of a noun (chops) takes on extra meanings besides just "more than one of that noun (chop)".

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