Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CHIP, v. Used as in St.Eng., but note the following peculiarly Sc. uses:

1. Used of buds, seeds, grain, etc., “to break forth from a shell or calix” (Sc. 1808 Jam.); to germinate. Obs. also in St.Eng., last quot. 1734 (N.E.D.), but still found in Eng. (War.) dial. (E.D.D.). Cf. Cheep, v.2 Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Grain is also said to chip, when it begins to germinate.

2. “The term, as originally referring to birds, is transferred to a woman who is in the early state of pregnancy” (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

3. “Applied to ale, when it begins to ferment in the working vat” (w.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems and Songs 240:
Each day she'd drink a tun o' swats That is new chipt.

4. (1) To knock, strike, in gen. (Kcb.1 1940). Lnk. 1902 A. Wardrop Hamely Sketches x.:
Had it no' been for Sawny Bisset chippin doon its nest wi' a stane.

(2) Applied to curling: = phrase below. Kcb.10 1940:
“Hoo much hae ye o' that yin, Alec?” “Oh, nearly the half.” “Aweel, haud my cowe wi' the oot-turn an' chip 'im.”

Phrase: to chip the winner, a curling term: “to avoid the guard and take [strike] what can be seen of the winner [winning stone]” (Abd.9 1940). Also as vbl.n.phr. Abd.9 1940:
Skip. — Weel, gin ye can chip the winner, we'll lie three.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller of Deanhaugh i.:
The clergymen . . . were keen curlers and . . . knew . . . all the important and scientific movements connected with guarding, inwicking, raising, and chipping the winner.

(3) With up: to stir up, rouse (Bnff.2 1940). Bnff. 1923 Bnffsh. Jnl. (29 May) 5:
Oh, I canna get the crafters t' drive 't awa', bit I'se chip them up a bit.

[O.Sc. has chip, chyp, intr., of seeds or buds: to break open, show signs of growing, from early 15th cent. (D.O.S.T.). Meanings 24 are extensions of this.]

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"Chip v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2022 <>



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