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[hwip-er-snap-er, wip-] /ˈʰwɪp ərˌsnæp ər, ˈwɪp-/
an unimportant but offensively presumptuous person, especially a young one.
Origin of whippersnapper
1665-75; probably blend of earlier whipster and snippersnapper, similar in sense; see whip, snap, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for whippersnapper
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Fruits fail, and love dies, and time ranges; and only the whippersnapper (that fool of Time) endureth for ever.

    Views and Reviews William Ernest Henley
  • Would you try to frighten me with that whippersnapper thing?

    Little Johannes Frederik van Eeden
  • It is only the whippersnapper, the sneak, the coward out of doors who is a tyrant at home.

  • She's not the kind that takes to any whippersnapper that comes along.

    Angela's Business Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • I was serving the Czar while you were still a whippersnapper.

  • You'll find out you're fooling with the wrong man, you whippersnapper!

    Hiram The Young Farmer Burbank L. Todd
  • Suppose Marna had married the first whippersnapper that came along, and he had carried her off to Australia, etc.

    Angela's Business Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • And a whippersnapper fellow like Perez, a narrow-minded slow-coach, with no taste or spirit, dared to dispute the place with him!

    Froth Armando Palacio Valds
British Dictionary definitions for whippersnapper


an insignificant but pretentious or cheeky person, often a young one Also called whipster
Word Origin
C17: probably from whipsnapper a person who snaps whips, influenced by earlier snippersnapper, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for whippersnapper

1670s, apparently a "jingling extension" [OED] of *whip-snapper "a cracker of whips," or perhaps an alteration of snipper-snapper (1580s). Cf. also late 16c. whipperginnie, a term of abuse for a woman.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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