a. Either of two bony or cartilaginous structures that in most vertebrates form the framework of the mouth and hold the teeth.
b. The mandible or maxilla or the part of the face covering these bones.
c. Any of various structures of invertebrates that have an analogous function to vertebrate jaws.
2. Either of two opposed hinged parts in a mechanical device.
3. jaws The walls of a pass, canyon, or cavern.
4. jaws A dangerous situation or confrontation: the jaws of death.
a. Impudent argument or back talk: Don't give me any jaw.
b. A conversation or chat.
intr.v. jawed, jaw·ing, jaws
1. To talk vociferously; jabber.
2. To talk; converse.
[Middle English jawe, jowe, perhaps from Old French joue, cheek.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.