chip off the old block, a person who resembles one parent in appearance or behavior: His son is just a chip off the old block.
    chip on one's shoulder, a disposition to quarrel: You will never make friends if you go around with a chip on your shoulder.
    in the chips, Slang. wealthy; rich: Don't look down on your old friends now that you're in the chips.
    when the chips are down, in a discouraging or disadvantageous situation; in bad or pressing times: When the chips are down he proves to be a loyal friend.

Origin of chip

1300–50; (noun) Middle English chip (compare Old English cipp plowshare, beam, i.e., piece cut off); (v.) late Middle English chippen (compare Old English -cippian in forcippian to cut off); akin to Middle Low German, Middle Dutch kippen to chip eggs, hatch
Related formschip·pa·ble, adjectiveun·chip·pa·ble, adjective



verb (used without object), chipped, chip·ping.

to utter a short chirping or squeaking sound; cheep.


a short chirping or squeaking cry.

Origin of chip

First recorded in 1880–85; variant of cheep



noun Wrestling.

a tricky or special method by which an opponent can be thrown.

Origin of chip

1820–30; noun use of chip to trip up; cognate with German kippen to tip over, Old Norse kippa to pull




Charles Eus·tis [yoo-stis] /ˈyu stɪs/, Chip, 1904–74, U.S. diplomat. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chip

Contemporary Examples of chip

Historical Examples of chip

  • It is but a chip here and a chip there, yet it may bring the tree down in time.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The girl caught her breath, and Chip eyed her sharply from the corner of his eye.

  • Chip, thinking of the morrow's drive, groaned in real anguish of spirit.

  • Chip held the creams to a walk and furtively watched his companion.

  • Chip saw and interpreted the glance, somewhat contemptuously.

British Dictionary definitions for chip



a small piece removed by chopping, cutting, or breaking
a mark left after a small piece has been chopped, cut, or broken off something
(in some games) a counter used to represent money
a thin strip of potato fried in deep fat
US and Canadian a very thin slice of potato fried and eaten cold as a snackAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): crisp
a small piece or thin slice of food
sport a shot, kick, etc, lofted into the air, esp over an obstacle or an opposing player's head, and travelling only a short distance
electronics a tiny wafer of semiconductor material, such as silicon, processed to form a type of integrated circuit or component such as a transistor
a thin strip of wood or straw used for making woven hats, baskets, etc
NZ a container for soft fruit, made of thin sheets of wood; punnet
cheap as chips British informal inexpensive; good value
chip off the old block informal a person who resembles one of his or her parents in behaviour
have a chip on one's shoulder informal to be aggressively sensitive about a particular thing or bear a grudge
have had one's chips British informal to be defeated, condemned to die, killed, etc
when the chips are down informal at a time of crisis or testing

verb chips, chipping or chipped

to break small pieces from or become broken off in small pieceswill the paint chip?
(tr) to break or cut into small piecesto chip ice
(tr) to shape by chipping
sport to strike or kick (a ball) in a high arc
Derived Formschipper, noun

Word Origin for chip

Old English cipp (n), cippian (vb), 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

Word Origin and History for chip

early 15c., "to chip" (intransitive, of stone); from Old English forcippian "to pare away by cutting, cut off," verbal form of cipp "small piece of wood" (see chip (n.)). Transitive meaning "to cut up, cut or trim" is from late 15c. Sense of "break off fragments" is 18c. To chip in "contribute" (1861) is American English, perhaps from card-playing. Related: Chipped; chipping. Chipped beef attested from 1826.


Old English cipp "piece of wood," perhaps from PIE root *keipo- "sharp post" (cf. Dutch kip "small strip of wood," Old High German kipfa "wagon pole," Old Norse keppr "stick," Latin cippus "post, stake, beam;" the Germanic words perhaps borrowed from Latin).

Meaning "counter used in a game of chance" is first recorded 1840; electronics sense is from 1962. Used for thin slices of foodstuffs (originally fruit) since 1769; specific reference to potatoes is found by 1859 (in "A Tale of Two Cities"); potato chip is attested by 1879. Meaning "piece of dried dung" first attested 1846, American English.

Chip of the old block is used by Milton (1642); earlier form was chip of the same block (1620s); more common modern phrase with off in place of of is early 20c. To have a chip on one's shoulder is 1830, American English, from the custom of a boy determined to fight putting a wood chip on his shoulder and defying another to knock it off.


"break caused by chipping," 1889, from chip (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for chip



See integrated circuit.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with chip


In addition to the idioms beginning with chip

  • chip and dip
  • chip in
  • chip off the old block
  • chip on one's shoulder

also see:

  • cash in (one's chips)
  • in the money (chips)
  • let the chips fall where they may
  • when the chips are down
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.