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Etymology 1[edit]

From English dialectal kipper (nimble; frisky), of obscure origin. Perhaps akin to Old Norse kjapt (briskly; impetuously), kippa ("to snatch; pull; jerk" > Middle English kippen (to seize)), kipra (to wrinkle; draw tightly), Norwegian kjapp (fast; brisk), Dutch kippen (to seize; catch; grip). More at kip.


chipper (comparative chipperer, superlative chipperest)

  1. Exhibiting a lively optimism; in high spirits, cheerful.
    • 2013, Michelle Witte, Faker's Guide to the Classics (page 66)
      Van Halen orders garlic strewn about Lucy's bedroom. she feels a bit chipperer the next morning, so Mina heads off to help poor Harker in Budapest.
    • 2012 April 29, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Treehouse of Horror III” (season 4, episode 5; originally aired 10/29/1992)”, in AV Club[1]:
      The idea of a merchant selling both totems of pure evil and frozen yogurt (he calls it frogurt!) is amusing in itself, as is the idea that frogurt could be cursed, but it’s really the Shopkeeper’s quicksilver shift from ominous doomsaying to chipper salesmanship that sells the sequence.

Etymology 2[edit]

chip +‎ -er

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chipper (plural chippers)

  1. (Ireland, slang) A fish and chip shop, or more generally a cheap fast food outlet, typically selling chips and other deep-fried foods.
  2. (slang) A deep frier.
  3. (US) A machine that reduces organic matter to compost; depending on size, whole tree trunks are reduced to sawdust; a woodchipper.
  4. (US, smoking) An occasional tobacco user, or more generally drug user.
  5. A machine that chips potatoes ready to be fried and made into chips.
  6. A company that manufactures potato chips/potato crisps.
    • 1974, Potato Chipper (volume 33, issues 16-27, page 25)
      Bichel asked chippers several thought-provoking questions about potato procurement, storage and handling.
    • 1978, Joan Dye Gussow, The Feeding Web: Issues in Nutritional Ecology, page 151:
      Pet Inc.'s Laura Scudder division, a West Coast region chipper, has revamped its Dittos brand stack chips.
  7. Someone who chips (e.g. wood).
  8. (sports) A player who chips the ball.
  9. (golf) A golf club for making chip shots.

Etymology 3[edit]

Compare cheep, chirp.


chipper (third-person singular simple present chippers, present participle chippering, simple past and past participle chippered)

  1. (UK, dialect) To chirp or chirrup.
    • 1884, Clinton Hart Merriam, The Mammals of the Adirondack Region, Northeastern New York:
      [a squirrel] [] eyeing me inquisitively, chippering, and shaking his tail