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Tag Archive | chips

Idiom: Chip on your shoulder

Fig. a bad attitude that tends to get someone easily upset.
“Why did you get so angry at the slightest criticism? You seem to have a chip on your shoulder.”

Meaning

A perceived grievance or sense of inferiority.

Origin

The word chip has several meanings; the one that we are concerned with here is the earliest known of these, namely ‘a small piece of wood, as might be chopped, or chipped, from a larger block’. The phrase ‘a chip on one’s shoulder’ is reported as originating with the nineteenth century U.S. practice of spoiling for a fight by carrying a chip of wood on one’s shoulder, daring others to knock it off. This suggested derivation has more than the whiff of folk-etymology about it. Anyone who might be inclined to doubt that origin can take heart from an alternative theory.

It should probably look like:

AND it does not imply a real chip or a piece of chips, mind you 🙂

NOR

NOT, not even that chip. Certainly not.

I’ll have some chips on my shoulders,
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