Idioms

    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

1
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for chip on one's shoulder

fight, gauntlet, truculence

British Dictionary definitions for chip on one's shoulder

chip

noun

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 on one's shoulder

chip

v.

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.

chip

n.1

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.

chip

n.2

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chip on one's shoulder in Science

chip

[chĭp]

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

chip on one's shoulder in Culture

chip on one's shoulder

A belligerent attitude or grievance: “Joe really has a chip on his shoulder; every time I say something to him, he takes it the wrong way.” In the past, a young boy would place a wood chip on his shoulder and dare anyone to knock it off as a way of showing how tough he was.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with chip on one's shoulder

chip on one's shoulder

A belligerent attitude or grievance, as in Mary is easily offended; she always has a chip on her shoulder. This term actually was defined in a newspaper article (Long Island Telegraph, May 20, 1830): “When two churlish boys were determined to fight, a chip would be placed on the shoulder of one and the other demanded to knock it off at his peril.” [Early 1800s]

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.