"mutton chops" and "lamb chops" for sideburns

susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
Hi there,

Lately I kept noticing "mutton chops" in David Nicholls's books [he is British], and then last night I heard "lamb chops" for the first time on Seinfeld. Is "lamb chops" used in the US more than "mutton chops"?

Thanks!
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I've never heard "lamb chops" for "mutton chops." I expect it was a joke in the Seinfeld episode - it sounds like something they would say.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It would be hard to know without seeing the episode, but lambs are baby sheep, while mutton refers to older sheep. Perhaps the man has mutton chops that seem too small for his face or his beard is too thin (like a baby trying to grow facial hair). It could even be a reference to a famous hand puppet named Lambchop - he looks like he has fake fur on his face. ;)
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I actually found many references to "lamb chop sideburns" online, now that I looked with this string rather than "mutton chops" + "lamb chops." Google has the following from one post:
    "Nate enjoys Mel Brooks movies, Seinfeld reruns and anything by the Marx Brothers. He spends most of his free time grooming his lamb chop sideburns and [...]"

    Here's a picture of "huge lamb chop sideburns"
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/39795210/man-with-lamb-chop-sideburns-vintage
    The person who posted it added that "Sometimes they were called pork chop sideburns."

    It seems like people are having fun using the culinary references without paying particular attention to the actual analogies (mutton - lamb; etc.).

    Anyway, until last night's episode and today's search, I had never heard of "lamb chop sideburns," much less of "pork chop sideburns."
     
    Last edited:

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Muttonchops is the more common term in the US. (And I will also note that every police officer in the NYPD who has been around for more than a few years will remember that our appearance regulations -- which were clearly aimed at fashions from the 1970s --used to state "Keep sideburns closely trimmed and not extending below the bottom of the lobe of the ear. (Gross muttonchops are not permitted.)" Older officers in the Department still commonly joke with each other about whether or not someone has "gross muttonchops.")
     

    EnglishRoseR

    New Member
    English - England & US
    Hi there,

    Lately I kept noticing "mutton chops" in David Nicholls's books [he is British], and then last night I heard "lamb chops" for the first time on Seinfeld. Is "lamb chops" used in the US more than "mutton chops"?

    Thanks!
    I was born in England, and left in 1967 to go to Miami, Florida, where I have resided ever since. When I arrived here, they did not know or understand the word "mutton" and used only the word "lamb" for all meat from sheep. They typically did not eat any form of lamb/mutton/sheep back then. But it has gained some favor more recently. They called the facial hair "lamb chops". For some time now, one can find lamb (the meat) around Eastertide. The Miami area used to be mostly a lot of Notherners (N.Y. area) and some Southerners (N. & S. Carolina, Georgia). Now it is 75% Hispanic.
     
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