English edit

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Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English jowe~joue~jaue, seemingly borrowed from Old French jowe~joue~joe, itself from Vulgar Latin *gauta.

The OED argues that, since Chaucer rhymed jowe with clowe (claw), the tonic vowel was not /uː/ and so jowe does not correspond to the French word. (On the other hand, it raises no such objection against the derivation of paw from Old French powe~poue~poe, from *pauta.) It is not clear that Middle English ever borrowed an Old French word in which /ɔw/ had already turned to /u/. If the normal modern English outcome is taken to be the /əʊ/ of clove, escrow, hoe, mow, and soldier (implying a Middle English /ɔw/), then the /ɔː/ of jaw and paw (implying a Middle English /aw/) may be explained as the result of either borrowing from Middle English dialects that merged /ɔw/ into /aw/ or blending with semantically adjacent words like chaule (jaw) and clawe (claw).

The OED, with reluctance, offers the theory that the original Middle English form could have been an unattested *chowe, from an also-unattested Old English *ċēowe (from Proto-West Germanic *keuwā). /t͡ʃ-/ > /d͡ʒ-/ is not unheard-of; cf. jam, jar, jarm, jitter, and jowl. The OED also note that a variant chaw is in fact documented in English, but only from 1530 onward, some 150 years after the j- forms.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

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.
    His jaw dropped in amazement.
  3. (figuratively) Anything resembling the jaw of an animal in form or action; especially plural, the mouth or way of entrance.
    the jaws of a pass; the jaws of darkness; the jaws of death.
  4. A notch or opening.
  5. A notched or forked part, adapted for holding an object in place.
    the jaw of a railway-car pedestal.
  6. One of a pair of opposing parts which are movable towards or from each other, for grasping or crushing anything between them.
    the jaws of a vise; the jaws of a stone-crushing machine.
  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, abusive or worthless talk.
  9. (slang) Axle guard.
  10. (snooker) The curved part of the cushion marking the entry to the pocket.
Derived terms edit
Translations edit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
See also edit

Verb edit

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

  1. (transitive) To assail or abuse by scolding.
    • 1933, Ethel Lina White, The Spiral Staircase (Some Must Watch), Chapter 4, [1]
      He built the Summit, so as to have no neighbours. And Lady Warren couldn't abide It. She was always jawing him about it, and they had one awful quarrel, in his study.
  2. (intransitive) To scold; to clamor.
    • 1748, Tobias Smollett, chapter 24, in The Adventures of Roderick Random[2]:
      [] he waked him, which put him in a main high passion, and he swore woundily at the lieutenant, and called him lousy Scotch son of a whore [] , and swab, and lubber, whereby the lieutenant returned the salute, and they jawed together fore and aft a good spell, till at last the captain turned out, and, laying hold of a rattan, came athwart Mr. Bowling's quarter: whereby he told the captain that, if he was not his commander, he would heave him overboard []
  3. (intransitive, informal) To talk; to converse.
  4. (snooker, transitive, intransitive) (of a ball) To stick in the jaws of a pocket.

Etymology 2 edit

Uncertain, see Jew's harp for more.

Adjective edit

jaw (not comparable)

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

References edit

North Frisian edit

Pronoun edit


  1. your (second personal pronoun plural possessive)

See also edit

Polish edit

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

jaw f

  1. genitive plural of jawa

Verb edit


  1. second-person singular imperative of jawić