This relates to working practices in the British Royal Dockyards in the 18th century. For example, someone might say Joe has a chip on his shoulder because Trevor won the race, despite the fact that Joe has won more races than Trevor has. The boys would then square off and like boxers. This use has the same meaning as the modern idiom. If your opponent picked up the glove, or knocked the chip of wood off your shoulder, the challenge was accepted and the fight was on. 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. The confrontational challenge to knock a chip of wood off someone's shoulder does after all appear to be the correct derivation.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. This has gotten lost in all the false meanings. He, the said Miller replied, 'Are not the chips mine? This suggested derivation has more than the whiff of folk-etymology about it. A warrant was issued to the Royal Dockyards to reduce the quantity of chips by ordering shipwrights to carry their bundles under their arms instead of on their shoulders, as one could not carry as much timber in this fashion. In my humble opinion, the 'chips on shoulders' report dating from 1756 refer literally to just that, chips carried on shoulders. On Tuesday a petition was brought to the Honourable Thomas Cooper, Esq. 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'.
But who could blame the guy, he outscored every man on the court in nearly every single game. Let us pause a moment to celebrate. Chipped beef attested from 1826. . New York: The Lyon Press. A subsequent standing order, in May 1753, ruled that only chips that could be carried under one arm were allowed to be removed. During the 18th century, this had a literal meaning.
Now the horse refuses to obey. There's no evidence at all to suggest 'a chip on one's shoulder' existed as a figurative phrase until the 19th century. This limited the amount of timber that could be taken and the shipwrights were not best pleased about the revoking of their previous benefit. This ordinance declared that shipwrights were to carry chips on their shoulders so that officers could inspect them. A Very occasionally, someone asks about a phrase for which a good explanation exists.
And in the afternoon the Master Shipwright sent for all the foremen and quartermen and read the Order to them of the 4th May 1753, and give every quarterman a particular charge to tell all his men separately what the order was relating to their lowering their chips and carrying them under their arm out of the yard. The had a chip on her shoulder because she was the star player on her high school softball team. Examples of A Chip on Your Shoulder The sample conversation between two friends illustrates the correct use of this idiom. World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996—. Common Phrases: And Where They Come From.
The privilege was instated as a prescriptive right from 1634. By 1756, this privilege had been abused and was costing taxpayers too much in lost timber for warship repair and construction. Everyone seemed in a conspiracy to slight or injure him. I will not lower them. I will not lower them.
This bad attitude most often refers to perceived unjust treatment. A perceived grievance or sense of inferiority. Later it came to suggest somebody who shows a belligerent attitude, acting as though he were spoiling for a fight; the chip was figurative, but the idea was the same. He answered he would not, with that the Master Shipwright took hold of him, and said he should. Three years later, for this and other reasons, they went on strike. This is one of those rare cases.
The phrase 'a chip on one's shoulder' is reported as originating with the nineteenth century U. A Chip on Your Shoulder Meaning Definition: A bad attitude that tends to get someone upset easily, oftentimes stemming from a grudge held against someone. Origin of A Chip on Your Shoulder There are several theories about the origin of this idiom, although none have been confirmed. Anyone who might be inclined to doubt that origin can take heart from an alternative theory. Once the other person did this signaled the beginning of the fight and thus punches were thrown.
The veterinarian examined the horse and noticed a chip of flesh was removed from the front shoulder of the animals leg. What's the origin of the phrase 'Chip on your shoulder'? 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. When a person disagreed strongly with someone over a personal belief, they would place a chip of wood on their shoulder and dare the other to. As it turned out when the owner was drunk he walked the horse into the side of door. Examples of this can be seen in old British movies circa 1930-1950's. The problem with it is that the phrase isn't known to be recorded in print in England with its figurative meaning anywhere near the 18th century.
In more formal cases, a might take the chip and present the chip to his man who would then place it on his own shoulder. A comes from the days when there was a formal declaration for a fight, etc. In the May 20, 1830 edition of the Long Island Telegraph, we can see this meaning of the phrase, When two churlish boys were determined to fight, a chip would be places on the shoulder of one and the other demanded to knock if off at his peril. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. Another theory is that people who wanted to engage in a fight would put a chip of wood on their shoulder and dare others to attempt to knock it off. We need to be a little wary of swallowing that derivation whole however. Ursula: Why is Quentin grumpy today? She soon realized that every one of her new teammates, was also the star of their high school team.