chip

\ \ [OE] Old English cipp meant ‘share-beam of a plough’ (a sense paralleled in related forms in other Germanic languages, such as Dutch kipplough-beam’ and Old Norse kepprstick’).
\ \ This seems a far cry from the modern use of chip, for which there is no evidence before the 14th century, and in fact our noun chip may be a new formation based on the verb chip, which goes back to Old English -cippiancut’ (found only in compounds). Here again, though, the record is incomplete; for the post-Old English verb does not turn up until the late 15th century, and then in the very specialized sense ‘cut the crust off bread’. The more general meaning ‘cut’ appears in the 17th century, but the modern ‘break off a small fragment’ is as late as the 18th century. All in all, a picture confused by lack of evidence. But probably the basic etymological sense that underlies all later usage is ‘cut off’ or ‘piece cut off’ (the early noun senses representing ‘branch or bough cut off a tree’). ‘Small piece of fried potato’ dates from the 1860s. (Old French borrowed the word as chipe, and a variant of this, chifferag’, is the ultimate source of English chiffon [18].)
\ \ Cf.CHIFFON

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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