Had your chips!

Funny words come to me and I pause and ponder where they came from and if the way we use them is the way they were originally used… Take chip, for example, it came into my head as we were driving along and I began to wonder where it came from..

My first thought was chips as in chipped potato, and I wondered if that use came from the wood chips sense meaning small parts of something which had been chopped. Without a dictionary to hand – and I was driving anyway, I wondered if the etymology of the word was French, but the only French word I could think of which sounded similar was Chypre, which is Cyprus. So maybe Old English or Anglo-Saxon? I was just thinking this when I arrived home, did some chores and forgot about chips.

I’m not a great chip eater – I would rarely if ever choose them as part of a meal, and as for having a bag of chips that doesn’t appeal at all. Having thought of the word it seemed to pop up all the time, a chipped plate, a chip you might use in gambling (I did once win 10F in Monte Carlo but that was on a slot machine so no chips involved) and golf – my dad was a great golfer so I grew up with golfing language!

I was right in my Old English thoughts about the origin, meaning a bit of something cut off which came from the cutting off verb. However, way back in time there was another similar sounding word meaning a post or stake which has a completely unrelated origin.

I’ve tried to make a list of some uses of the word – but i am sure I’ve missed some out!!

  • a token used in place of cash
  • something in a computer
  • something in electronics
  • potato chips as in fish and chips (in the USA these are called fries, chips are what we would call crisps)
  • a type of shot in golf
  • a small piece of some food like chocolate chips
  • a small piece of wood
  • wallpaper with wood chips in it
  • a bit accidentally knocked out of something – like crockery; the chip is the bit knocked out and the hole left behind
  • a basket or container for fruit
  • I didn’t know this but it is also a term in curling
  • nor did I know it could be a dried piece of dung used as fuel
  • there are all sort of really interesting nautical terms, and chip is one of them and it’s a triangular piece of wood attached to a log line

My featured image shows a gull after a plate of chips left unattended on the Grand Pier!

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