- chip (n.1)
- Old English cipp "piece of wood," perhaps from PIE root *keipo- "sharp post" (cognates: 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. When the chips are down (1940s) is from the chips being down on the table after the final bets are made in a poker match.
- 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.2)
- "break caused by chipping," 1889, from chip (v.).