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[hwip-er-snap-er, wip-] /ˈʰwɪp ərˌsnæp ər, ˈwɪp-/
an unimportant but offensively presumptuous person, especially a young one.
Origin of whippersnapper
1665-75; probably blend of earlier whipster and snippersnapper, similar in sense; see whip, snap, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for whippersnapper
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Would you try to frighten me with that whippersnapper thing?

    Little Johannes Frederik van Eeden
  • I was serving the Czar while you were still a whippersnapper.

  • She's not the kind that takes to any whippersnapper that comes along.

    Angela's Business Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • You'll find out you're fooling with the wrong man, you whippersnapper!

    Hiram The Young Farmer Burbank L. Todd
  • And a whippersnapper fellow like Perez, a narrow-minded slow-coach, with no taste or spirit, dared to dispute the place with him!

    Froth Armando Palacio Valds
  • It is only the whippersnapper, the sneak, the coward out of doors who is a tyrant at home.

  • Fruits fail, and love dies, and time ranges; and only the whippersnapper (that fool of Time) endureth for ever.

    Views and Reviews William Ernest Henley
  • By my sowl thin, you know betther thoughts than your own, Mr. whippersnapper, if that's the name you go by.

British Dictionary definitions for whippersnapper


an insignificant but pretentious or cheeky person, often a young one Also called whipster
Word Origin
C17: probably from whipsnapper a person who snaps whips, influenced by earlier snippersnapper, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for whippersnapper

1670s, apparently a "jingling extension" [OED] of *whip-snapper "a cracker of whips," or perhaps an alteration of snipper-snapper (1580s). Cf. also late 16c. whipperginnie, a term of abuse for a woman.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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