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(Welcome. This is a work in progress. I have started by adding references which had not been cited on chaps, its discussion page, or Wikipedia_talk:Requests_for_mediation/Chaps. This list is incomplete, and the following is compiled by an amateur. It is also currently biased towards the "shaps" pronunciation, which happened mainly to prove a point. I think it is interesting, and maybe one day it should grow up to be its own real wikipage.)

The "shaps" spelling[edit]

I am not a linguist, but I have read that the (mis)spellings of the past are invaluable in determining early pronunciations. The "shaps" spelling of the word has been largely ignored for the most part in this debate up until now. In fact, I'm not convinced that "chaps" was the more widespread spelling initially. This is seen in Teddy Roosevelt's memoirs, texts written by British adventurists, and many others. Two cowboy/artist/authors from the Northwestern US used the "shaps" spelling. Will James used it as his standard spelling;[James a] Charlie Russell used "chaps" in typical prose,[Russell a] but "shaps" in dialog to impart the full color of his characters.[Russell b] The dictionary of slang, jargon and cant from 1890 had no entry for "chaps" but did for "shaps."[Barrère] Webster's 1913 edition also lists "shaps" as an entry,[Webster] as do several other early dictionaries.

Modern cowboys[edit]

Many groups of modern cowboys say ʃæps. The Library of Congress had a large project in the 80s interviewing "buckaroos in paradise." From this oral history, a glossary was formed with, yes, the sh pronunciation only.[LOC] The Professional Bull Riders association web site lists one pronunciation.[PBR] In fact (for those wanting a more global view), so does the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association.[NZRCA]

Manufacturers of chaps[edit]

Manufacturers and vendors of chaps for western riders, as well as at least one vendor of motorcycle chaps, designate a "shaps" pronunciation.[Norwood][HLHQ][Franky]


Arizona[1], Nevada[LOC][2], Oregon[LOC], California[LOC][3][4], Idaho[LOC][5], North Dakota[6], Utah[7], Oklahoma[8], New Mexico[9], Texas[10], Minnesota[11], Pennsylvania[12], Virginia[13], Alberta[14], New Zealand[NZRCA], Northwest Territories[15][16]

Working cowboys[LOC][9]


Shaps spelling[19][Barrère][20][15][16][7][6][21][1],




Date: 1889[15], 1890[Barrère], 1900[16], 1902[21], 1913[6], 1916[19], 1917[1], 1945[22], 1982[LOC], 1995[24][25], 1996[17], 2001[2][18], 2002[10][9], 2004[20][4], 2005[5][12][NZRCA], 2007[13][11][14][23], 2008[3][7][26]

British authors[15][16][8]

References by type[edit]


a b c Barrère, Albert (1890). A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant. Ballantyne Press. p. 224. Shaps (American), leather leggings. Probably from shap (provincial English) tight-laced, shapely, fit, comely. Shapes, a tight-laced, jaunty girl.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); External link in |title= (help)

a Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. 1913. Retrieved 2008-04-12. Shaps \Shaps\, n. pl. [Shortened fr. chaparajos. Cf. {Chaps}.] Chaparajos. [Western U. S.] 

a Cassidy, Frederic G., ed. (1985). Dictionary of American Regional English. I. Cambridge/London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp. p. 592. ISBN 0-674-20511-1. chaps n pl Usu  Text "šæps" ignored (help); Text ", also " ignored (help); Text "čæps" ignored (help); Text "šæpə're(h)os, ,čæp-" ignored (help); Text ",šæpəræl" ignored (help); Text " For var spp see quots at A [MexSpan] chiefly SW ... 1967 DARE Tape TX29, Chaparral [šæpə'tæl]." "chaparreras n pl " ignored (help); Text ",šæpə'rɛrəs,,čæp-" ignored (help); Unknown parameter |Also sp chap(p)arejos, chaperajos [Prob blend of chaparreras + aparejo] Chiefly West, esp SW= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |Pronc-spp shaps, schap(p)s [Abbr for chaparreras; see also chaparajos] West Leather leggins resembling trousers without a seat, worn chiefly by cowboys or ranch hands over regular trousers to protect the legs when riding through chaparral or brush. 1884 Shepherd Prairie Exper. 41 WY, The cow-boys, with their sccaps, i.e. leather-leggings and flopping wide-brimmed hats, are trooping off. 1894 DN 1.324 TX, Chaps. 1896 Christian Educ. Jan 7/1 (DAE) a cowboy with spurs, schapps, sombrero and lariat, was a new sight to Miss Selby. 1090 (9= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |Also sp chapararros, chapareras, chapar(r)eros, shortened form chaparras, chaparro(s) [MexSpan] chiefly SW old-fash= ignored (help);

a b c d e f g Library of Congress (1982). "Glossary Buckaroos in Paradise". Retrieved 2008-04-10. chaps -- pronounced "shaps"; leather leg coverings of various styles worn by working buckaroos when riding in brush or sage, for warmth in the winter, and for "show" in rodeos or parades. The word comes from the Mexican-Spanish chaparreras. There are several different styles: shotgun chaps, hair chaps (woolies), batwing chaps, stove-pipe chaps, and chinks, reflecting different regional traditions as well as changing fashions and personal preferences within the same region. 

a Sandilands, John (1913). Western Canadian Dictionary and Phrase Book:Picturesque Language of the Cowboy and the Broncho-Buster (1977 ed.). University of Alberta Press. ISBN 0888640218. 

a van Herk, Aritha (2005). "Ranching Glossary" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-04-10. Chaps: Pronounced "shaps," these are leggings worn by cowboys as protection against the weather and brush, and are usually made of leather.  line feed character in |quote= at position 76 (help)

a Smead, Robert Norman coauthors=Slatta, RW (2004). Vocabulario Vaquero/Cowboy Talk. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. p.xiv. ISBN 0806136316. Western cowboys still show the Spanish origins of their ubiquitous leather leggings or chaps, by pronouncing the word "shaps." xxiv "A similar process occurred with chaps; the Spanish model chaparreras 'leather leggings' was shortened and the Northern Mexican pronunciation of {ch} was retained (as/ʃ/"sh"). p.54"chaps: (''chaparreras''|tʃaparéras] <''chaparro'' [see above] plus Spanish suffix ''-era'' 'utensil'; the preferred pronunciation in English is (ʃæps); this pronunciation was probably influenced by the Spanish spoken along the border where speakers pronounce the digraph {ch} as[ʃ] or{sh}).  External link in |title= (help)

a Farmer, John S (1902). Slang and its Analogues Past and Present A Dictionary Historical and Comparative of the Heterodox Speech of all classes of society for more than three hundred years. v. --N. to Razzle Dazzle. a pair of SHAPS, or leather overalls, with tags and fringes down the seams  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

a Blevins (2001). Dictionary of the American West. Seattle: Sasquatch Books. pp. pp.75–76. ISBN 1-57061-304-4. Chaps (SHAPS, the a as in corral, traditionally a soft sh, not a hard one as in Chap Stick). Leggings--leather overalls--the cowboy wears to protect his legs whebn he's thrown from a horse or when the horse falls on him, pushes him against a fence or another animal, does its damnedest to bite him, or most particularly bolts him through brush, cactus, or chaparral; also used for warmth or for protection against rain and snow. One of the cowboy's essential pieces of equipment. It's short for chaperreras, which in tern derives from CHAPARRAL, one evil that caps ward off. 

a Adams, Ramon (1946) [1944]. Western Words: A Dictionary of the Range, Cow Camp and Trail (3rd printing ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. p. 31. chaps An American abbreviation of the Spanish chaparejos (chah-par-ray' hose), meaning leather breeches or overalls. This word was too much of a mouthful for the American cowboy, so he "bit shallow" and said chaps, pronouncing it shaps.

They are skeleton overalls worn primarily as armor to protect a rider's legs from injury when he is thrown or when a horse falls upon him, pushes him against either a fence of another animal, carries him through brush, cacti, or other chaparral, or attempts to bite him; also they are proof against rain or cold. The word occurs in English dictionaries as chaparejos, but the Spanish word is really chapareras (cha-par-rray'rahs).  line feed character in |quote= at position 264 (help)

^Cole a Cole, George S. (1892). A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods. W. B. Conkey company. Shaps Shaps. [Corrupted from Spanish chaparejos] Leather overalls or leggins, worn by cow-boys in western United States and Mexico.  line feed character in |quote= at position 7 (help)

a Adams, Frank Manning (1912). The Drygoodsman's handy Dictionary. The Drygoodsman. pp. p. 13. Retrieved 2008-04-12. Chaparejos (shap-ar-ay'hos) Leather breeches worn by cowboys. Commonly abbreviated to shaps.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

a ASGRA (2007). "Dictionary of some Rodeo terms". Retrieved 2008-04-10. Chaps Pronounced "SHAPS", also called "leggings", these colorful leather coverings are there for more than decoration. Chaps afford considerable protection to cowpokes who get ironed against a fence, mashed in the chute or bucked off. Arena dirt is harder than it looks from the stands. 

a Moore, Jim (2004). "Cowboy Dictionary". Retrieved 2008-04-10. CHAPS: ("shaps") as in chaparral, not as in "You really chap my hide." Cowboys use these leather leggings as protection against the thick brush and chaparral from cutting up their pants and legs when every bush on the trail seems to carry thorns. Derived from the Spanish work, chaparreras. 

a Lemen, Bob (2007). "Cowboy Bob's Dictionary". Retrieved 2008-04-10. "Chaps- Protective leather coverings for the legs Pronounced 'shaps'"

a Fish, Jim (2002). "Cowboy, Texian & TexMex Lingo". Retrieved 2008-04-10. chaps (shaps), n.; leggin's, leather coverings for the legs. Derived from Spanish word, "chapaderos". Riles me up to no end when I hear folks callin' 'em "chaps" (with the "ch" sound). They're chaps (with an "sh" sound)! Chap is what the sun an' wind does your face or the saddle does your rump. Don't ever forget it - especially if you're a-ridin' for my outfit. 

a "Cowboy Tack". Cody Nite Rodeo. 1996. Retrieved 2008-04-10. CHAPS. Pronounced "shaps", and also called leggings, these colorful leather coverings are there for more than decoration. Chaps afford considerable protection to cowboys who get ironed against a fence, mashed in the chute or bucked off - arena dirt's harder than it looks from the stands. 

a b c d New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association (2005). "Glossary". Retrieved 2008-04-10. Chaps Traditionally pronounced “shaps”. Generally made of leather and are used to protect the legs of a cowboy or cowgirl. They come in various shapes, colours and patterns. 

a Nevada department of cultural affairs (2001). "Cowboy and rodeo glossary:The Connection between Vaqueros and Buckaroos". Retrieved 2008-04-10. chaparreras (sha-pah-RAY-rahs: leg armor) chaps (SHAPS: leather leggings) 

a "A Cowboy’s Closet/El Vestuario de un Vaquero" (PDF). Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum. 1995. p. p.17. Retrieved 2008-04-10. Chaps/Chaparejos/Chaparreras The cowboy’s chaps (cowboys pronounce this like “shaps”) look like leather trousers without a seat! The first chaps were actually cowhide sheets that hung from the horse’s neck, “bib-like,” and were tied back to cover the cowboy’s legs for protection from rough brush and cacti along the trail. They also provided protection from weather anfd the bite of an angry animal. As with other articles of gear, chaps were adapted for the cowboys own special needs and environment. Modern chaps are leather leggings that belt over the hips and have large flaps that fasten behind the legs with thongs, buckles or snaps to fit easily over boots and spurs.  line feed character in |quote= at position 29 (help)

a Price, Steven D. (2007). The Lyons Press Horseman's Dictionary. Globe Pequot. ISBN 1599210363. customarily pronounced “shaps” by Western riders and “chaps” by English riders  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Stanley, Dvaid (2006). "Cowboy Poetry then and now" (PDF). American Folklife Center. Retrieved 2008-04-10. “Chaps,” pronounced “shaps,” are the protective leather garments worn on the legs. The word is a shortened form of “chaparreras,” just as “taps,” leather covers on the front of the stirrups, is derived from “tapaderos.”  line feed character in |quote= at position 130 (help)

a b c Professional Bull Riders. "Bull Riding Equipment". Retrieved 2008-04-13. Chaps (pronounced shaps) Each PBR athlete wears chaps. These are custom-made and often display the logo of a cowboy's sponsors, as well as various decorative elements. Chaps may be flashy, but they are part of the armor that adds a layer of protection for the cowboy against a bull's horns and hooves.  line feed character in |quote= at position 25 (help)

a "Bull Riding Equipment". Amateur Bull Riders. 2001. Retrieved 2008-04-10. Chaps No matter if you call them chaps ( pronounced as shaps) or if you call them leggin's they look very attractive. They were meant to protect the clothes. They also serve the purpose of helping the rider from sliding on the back of the bull.  line feed character in |quote= at position 6 (help)

a Vahsholtz, Jon (2008). Retrieved 2008-04-13. CHAPS fellows SHAPS leather leggings  Missing or empty |title= (help)


a Scott Norwood (2005). "Master Craftsman of Fine Leather Goods". Retrieved 2008-04-10. CHAPS (pronounced "shaps" and short for chaparajos) are leggings worn by cowboys as protection against the brush and weather and are usually made of leather. 

a Horse Lovers Headquarters (2005). "Western Cowboy Equitation Chaps". Retrieved 2008-04-10. western chaps (pronounced shaps). These are actually leather leggings worn as protection against the weather, rocks, brush and harsh weather conditions, but also worn in the show rings as equitation style chaps. 

a "Men's classic leather chaps". Franky Fashion. Retrieved 2008-04-13. Chaps (pronounced "shaps", from the Spanish vaquero 'chapparrero'. These biker chaps are just as tough as they look. 


a Giefer, Nish (2007). "Just Plains Vengeance". Retrieved 2008-04-10. Cody sank onto a chair across from his boss and said, “So what do you think? Me and Brad have been trying to decide what she keeps in those great big pockets on the front of her chaps.” Bruce winced at the pronunciation. “It’s a Spanish word. It’s pronounced shaps. You wear shaps. Your lips get chapped.” 

a FitzPatrick, Valentine Stewart (1979). Blue Mountain and Black Midnight. pp. p. 79. Retrieved 2008-04-12. He put on my shaps and rode that old pelter bareback plumb into Craig and back. 

a Gates, Eleanor (1907). Cupid, The Cow-punch. The McClure Company. p.33 We'd no more'n got our shaps on again, when Hairoil blowed in from the post-office up the street... p. 140 ...showin' his teeth like a badger and lettin' his cigareet singe the hairs on his dirty shaps--shaps, mind y' at a school-house dance! p.206 First off, we togged ourselves out the way cowpunchers allus look in magazines...We rounded up all the shaps in town, with orders to wear 'em constant... p. 208 He looked in, kinda edged through the door, took a bench, and surveyed them shaps, and them guns till his eyes plumb protruded. 

a James, Will (1945). Home Ranch. Scribners. Retrieved 2008-04-12. He pulled his slicker back a little and showed where the lightning hit. It started at his shap belt and followed the front seams of the angora shaps all the way to the bottom... ...but his opinion got to changing about men in high heel boots, tall crowned hats and wearing batwing shaps, and that it took a good man to have the right to wear such outfits. Clothes didn't make the man there... ...The ledge he was sitting onwas his mountain, and like a king, but in overalls and shaps and squatted on his spurred heels...  line feed character in |quote= at position 179 (help)

a James, Will (1930). Lone Cowboy. Retrieved 2008-04-12. We all hit for the stable instead, put our ponies away to plenty of hay, took our shaps off and lined out to the hotel... ...I found my own saddle and shaps in the saddle room, saddled up the livery plug and rode out for the little pasture... ...I finally looked down at my shaps. These I had now was the leather batwing, a straight piece of leather that went around the leg and snapped.  line feed character in |quote= at position 122 (help)

a Russell, Charles M (1927). Trails Plowed Under. Retrieved 2008-04-13. Over these came his chaparejos or leggin's. 

a Russell, Charles M (1966). Good Medicine. Doubleday. pp. p. 101. ISBN 0385061455. Retrieved 2008-04-13. Shaps spurs boots and big hat dont make riders neather dos bib overalls and cap make pictures or storyes 


a Corbett, Sara (1995). "Cowboy Nation: Clothes Make the Cowpoke". Outside Magazine. For chaps--in ranchspeak, "shaps" or simply "leggins'"--don't buy off the rack. Instead, see a reputable leather worker for a custom fit.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); External link in |title= (help);

a Jaeger, Ellsworth (1945). Wildwood Wisdom. Shelter Publications, Inc. pp. p.19. ISBN 0936070129. The cowboy chaps (pronounced shaps), or chaparajos or chaparreras, were no doubt inspired by Indian leggings, for they, too, are merely leg protections. They are the most conspicuous part of the cowboy's equipment, with the exception perhaps of his broad-brimmed sombrero. Chaps are not, however, worn because of their picturesqueness; they are really heavy work overalls that protect the horseman's legs from cactus, chaparral, sagebrush and other menaces.  External link in |title= (help)

a Taylor, JLB (1916). Handbook for Rangers and Woodsmen. John Wiley and sons. pp. pp. 19–20. Chaparejos.---These are commonly known as "shaps" and are indispensable in brushy country, where a rider's legs adn trousers require continual protection.  External link in |title= (help)

a The Riders of the Plains (in) All the year round v.66 editor=Dickens, CC. 1889. pp. p. 344. Around, in the curving valleys of long grass, are many large cattle-ranches; the streets are alive with swaggering cowboys in huge sombreros and fringed "shaps;" and the reserve of the magnificent race, the Blackfeet, is not far off.  External link in |title= (help)

a Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. 1900. pp. p. 344. At their head rode a cowboy, in buckskin coat, shaps, long spurs, and wide-brimmed hat, and lariat on his saddle.  External link in |title= (help)

a Roosevelt, Theodore (1913). Autobiography. Macmillan. pp. p.110. They wore flannel shirts, with loose handkerchiefs knotted round their necks, broad hats, high-heeled boots with jingling spurs, and sometimes leather shaps, although often they merely had their trousers tucked into the tops of their high boots.” pp.134-5 "I undressed according to the fashion of the day and place, that is, I put my trousers, boots, shaps, and gun down beside the bed, and turned in.  External link in |title= (help)

a Ashlock. The West. The Coast: An Illustrated Monthly of the West. V. 3-20. pp. p.74. The refined Harvard graduate, donning “shaps” and spurs of a cowboy…  Text "first+JL " ignored (help); External link in |title= (help)

a James, George (1917). Arizona, the Wonderland. The Page Company. pp. p.398. Here one may learn all about "shaps" and "caballos," and horse-wranglers, and mavericks, and the differences between Texan and California saddles, and the ways of the cowboys who use them.  External link in |title= (help)

a Roosevelt, Theodore (1893). "The Exhibit at the World's Fair". American Big-game Hunting: The Book of the Boone and Crockett Club. Forest and Stream. pp. p. 335. ISBN 1428603484. Retrieved 2008-04-12. Pegs and deer antlers were driven into the wall to support shaps, buckskin shirts, broad hats, stock-saddles, and the like...and, as a matter of fact, the various rifles, stock-saddles, and indeed the shaps and buckskin shirts, too, had all seen active service. 

a Spilde, Tony (2006-02-19). From coronation to chemo. Bismark Tribune. Retrieved 2008-04-12. The door opened occasionally, and cold would whistle in, and another new cowboy would stomp his boots. He would say something about the weather, and then about his chaps, which he pronounced "shaps,"like the "sh" sound in shoestring, of which there were none. 

a Flood, Donna. "Jones Place on the Osage Highlands". Retrieved 2008-04-10. Chaps (pronounced shaps) can be 1. working, 2. Rodeo The working chaps can be for cutting cattle in thorn infested places which are almost like a pair of trousers themselves, covering the whole leg with a zippered leg or there is the working chap for the farrier, or for shoeing horses. 

Parker, Jameson (2003). An Accidental Cowboy (1st edition ed.). Thomas Dunne Books. pp. p. 271. ISBN 0312310242. Chaps: Pronounced shaps, no matter what you may have heard or what your dictionary says 

Blogs/personal websites/auctions[edit]

a Bean & Bean (2004). "Western Auction". Retrieved 2008-04-10. White show shaps 

a Kav (2008-03-11). "A real cowboy". Retrieved 2008-04-10. Chaps, pronounced 'shaps' are the americanised form of spanish chapparejos, themselves descended from a simple cowhide apron draped over the vaquero's legs and called armitas. 

a Keller, Marson (2008). "Classic Braided Cruiser Ladies Motorcycle Leather Jacket". Retrieved 2008-04-10. i ordered my leather from another company and paid much more for the same high quality product. i am now a loyal leather up customer. my wife is very with happy with her jacket, shaps & boots. and was very impressed with the quality. 

a Corbin, Don (2002). "The Wild Wild West". Retrieved 2008-04-10. Cowboys call the leather protection for their legs chaps but pronounce it "shaps". 

a cowboyway (2008). "Cowboy Chaps Savvy". Retrieved 2008-04-10. Cowboy chaps (pronounced "shaps") are leather leg coverings worn by horseback riders – typically cowboys and cowgirls – as protection against weather, timber, brush, rope burns, and other hazards. 

a "OutdoorSite Library: Hunting Terminology". Retrieved 2008-04-13. Chaps (Hunting) Leather leggings that protect a rider. Pronounced "shaps." When pronounced "chaps," as in "two English buddies," that means the speaker is definitely not from the West.  line feed character in |quote= at position 16 (help)

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