Word Origin & History
O.E. forcippian "to pare away by cutting," v. form of cipp "small piece of wood," perhaps from PIE base *keipo- "sharp post" (cf. Du. kip "small strip of wood," L. cippus "post, stake, beam"). Sense of "break off fragments" is 18c. Noun is attested by early 14c.; 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 ref. to potatoes is from 1859 (in "A Tale of Two Cities"); potato chip is attested by 1886. Meaning "piece of dried dung" first attested 1846. To chip in "contribute" (1861) may come from card-playing. Potato chip is 1859. Chip of the old block is used by Milton (1642); earlier form was chip of the same block (1621); more common modern phrase with off in place of of is early 20c. To have a chip on one's shoulder is from at least 1820s, U.S., from the custom of a boy determined to fight putting a chip on his shoulder and defying another to knock it off. Chip in "contribute" is 1861, Amer.Eng.