Chip on your shoulder


What does Chip on your shoulder mean?

Old slang, meaning that someone has a very strong opinion about something, often on a personal level.

This person will end up having a big argument with you if you dare question their belief, or state that you have a different opinion. They may even fight you.

Very conservative people are known to have a Chip on their shoulder, as they won’t change their opinion, no matter what proof of the opposite is presented upon them.


What's the origin of Chip on your shoulder?

The slang comes from an old North American custom from the early 19th century.

If two men were strongly disagreeing with each other, one of them would place a wooden chip on the other man’s shoulder, as a request for a physical fight.

If the man with the chip would proceed to brush it off his shoulder, the fists would fly.

Spread & Usage

How did Chip on your shoulder spread?

Examples of the original custom with the wooden chip can me seen in multiple British movies released in the early 20th century.

In the famous musical “Legally Blonde”, one of the songs is titled “Chip on My Shoulder”, and the lyrics describe the definition of the slang.

Some influencers has started using the slang as a motivator for people to reach their goals.

External resources

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