AskDefine | Define chine

Dictionary Definition



1 cut of meat or fish including at least part of the backbone
2 backbone of an animal v : cut through the backbone of an animal

User Contributed Dictionary

see Chine




  1. The top of a ridge.
  2. The spine of an animal.
  3. a sharp angle in the cross section of a hull
  4. (Southern England) a steep-sided ravine leading from the top of a cliff down to the sea


#* 1883: Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
    • ...the captain aimed at the fugitive one last tremendous cut, which would certainly have split him to the chine had it not been interecepted by our big signboard...#* 1988, Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming Pool Library, Penguin Books (1988), page 169
      In the odorous stillness of the day I thought of the tracks that threaded Egdon Heath, and of benign, elderly Sandbourne, with its chines and sheltered beach-huts.


angle in the hull



  • lang=ga|[ˈçɪnʲə]


  1. mutation of cine



chine p


  1. Plural of china

Extensive Definition

A chine is a steep-sided river valley where the river flows through coastal cliffs to the sea. Typically these are soft eroding cliffs such as sandstone or clays. The word chine originates from the Saxon "Cinan" meaning a gap or yawn.
The word is in use in central southern England; in Hampshire, Dorset and particularly the Isle of Wight. In Dorset, west of Bournemouth is found Branksome Chine and Alum Chine, and east towards Boscombe, Honeycombe Chine. There are nineteen chines on the Isle of Wight including the popular tourist attraction Shanklin Chine. All chines are in a state of constant change due to erosion, and the most well-known example, Blackgang Chine, has been destroyed by landslides and coastal erosion during the 20th century.
Chines are the remains of ancient river valleys, now mostly small gullies leading down to the sea. As the walls of the chines and cliffs of the south coast of the Isle of Wight are so unstable and erode continually, the strata are clearly visible. Chines are therefore very important for their fossil records, their archaeology and the unique flora and fauna they provide shelter to.
There is also some fascinating folklore attached to the chines because of their history with local smuggling, fishing and shipwrecks. Shanklin Chine is also famous for its involvement in the Second World War.
Chines are very dependent on the farmed landscape around them because crops are typically grown right up to the edges of the chines themselves, and water drains into the chines from this farmland.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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