A chip off the old block

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chip off the old block

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:29 pm

Hi, I'm a Japanese woman. I want to know the meaning of followings. Thank you in advance.

In our dictionary, the meaning of a chip of the old block, is resemble one's parents. But is there any possiblity that the meaning includes " resemble one's nurse or tutor"??

[Lamont, I think you now have the idea that before posting you should use the ‘Search’ function to see if the topic has been discussed before – in this case it has and I’m combining your newer posting with the older one.-- Forum Moderator]

Posted - 16 Nov 2007 : 17:13:08 Next: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

gdwdwkr
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Posted - 16 Nov 2007 : 17:58:01[/h] The little shaver

trolley
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Posted - 16 Nov 2007 : 18:25:20 My parents had a friend from Hungary who came up with some great idioms. I was never sure if they were misheard English ones or translated Hungarian ones. In the same vein as the chip and the block, “ Ah, the son wears the same Father’s shoe”.

trolley
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Lamont,

CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK is a person (or thing) derived from the same parentage (or source) and which closely resembles a parent (or source) as to behavior, appearance, abilities, or characteristics; descendant reproducing the qualities of a parent or ancestor; with respect to people, most often a son resembling a father, as in Like his father, he has no patience with fools—a chip off the old block..

The analogy is to wood (or sometimes stone) – a chip consists of, and has the same characteristics as, is made of the same stuff as the block of wood (or stone) from which it came. The idea for the expression dates back to ancient Greece where poet Theocritus in his Idyls called it a ‘chip-of-the-old-flint.

The earliest occurrence in print of this now widely used but originally British expression is from circa 1626 in the form CHIP OF THE SAME BLOCK (now obsolete), which appeared both in an anonymously written tragicomedy (see 1626-7 quote below) and the sermon of a 17th-century English Bishop (see 1627 quote). A few years later Milton used the form CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK (see 1642 quote) as did John Ray in his proverb collection (see 1670 quote). The first appearance in print offered by the Oxford English Dictionary for the modern form of CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK is from 1929 (see quote), but surprisingly I was able to turn up three examples which predate that (see 1897, 1918, and 1925 quotes).
<circa 1626-27 “Why may I not be a CHIPP OF THE SAME BLOCKE out of which you two were cut?”—Dick of Devonshire author anonymous, sometimes attributed to Thomas Heywood>

<1627 “Am not I a child of the same Adam, a vessel of the same clay, a CHIP OF THE SAME BLOCK, with him?”—Sermons by Bishop Robert Sanderson, I. page 283>

<1633 “He’s a CHIP O’ TH’ OLD BLOCK”— Match at Midnight by Crowley, I>

<1642 “How well dost thou now appeare to be a CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK.”— A Modest Confutation of the Animadversions upon the Remonstrant against Smectymnuus (1851) by Milton, page 297>

<1644 “A true CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK.”—in Collected Works of Francis Quarles by A. B. Grosart>

<1655 “Episcopacy, which they thought but a great CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK Popery.”— The Reign of King Charles I by H. L'Estrange, page 126>

<1670 “Kit after kind. A CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK”— A Collection of English Proverbs by John Ray>

<1709 “A CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK, is the vulgar nick-name of a father-like boy.”— English Proverbs by Dykes, page 30>

<1781 “He was not merely a CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK, but the old block itself.” Edmond Burke commenting on Pitt the Younger’s maiden speech in Parliament in Historical Memoirs of My Own Time, from 1772 to 1784 by Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, First Series, Vol. i. page 342>

<1824 “There was my father . . . a true CHIP OF THE OLD Presbyterian BLOCK.”— Red Gauntlet by Walter Scott, Ch. XV>

<1833 “The crab is its mother's child—a CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK.”— England Under Seven Administrations by A. Fonblanque, II. page 318>

<1850 “‘Yes, yes, Chuffey, Jonas is a CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK.”— Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Dickens, Ch. xvii>

<1897 “He fears to approach his son Taylor on the subject, well knowing that he is a ‘CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK,’ . . .”—The Virginia Law Register, Vol. 2, No. 12, April, page 912> [[this predates the OED’s first in print by 32 years]]

<1910 “Juliet, in her wilfulness, is a CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, Capulet; Laertes and Ophelia, in their sententiousness and liberality with advice, are CHIPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK, Polonius.”—Modern Philology, ‘Anachronism in Shakespeare Criticism,’ Vol. 7, No. 4, April, page 560>

<1918 “. . .Professor Dewey . . . instead of freeing social psychology and allowing it to go its own way, . . . it has the effect of tying it to the apron string of psychology. For this variety of social psychology is only a ‘CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK’ of psychology proper.”— The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, Vol. 15, No. 2, January, page 37>

<1925 “Judge Donovan’s book, although more recent, is a less interesting CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK. Unfortunately, however, Judge Donovan departs from the purely menial office of compiler, and rises to gather the fruit from his own orchard.”—California Law Review, Vol. 13, No. 3, March, page 289>

<1929 “He's my son, and he's a CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, and I'm proud of him.”— Seven Tales & Alexander by H. E. Bates, page 40> [[OED’s first in print]]

<1947 “His heir was a nephew . . . not a bad boy, but not a CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, no, sir, far from it.”—Creatures of Circumstance by Somerset Maugham, page 7>

<1967 “Having worked so long in Joe's shadow, Phil is regarded as a CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK who will pretty much continue his predecessor's policies.”—Time Magazine, 3 November>

<1984 “As Henry IV, Edward Rudney was at least adequate to the role. One could believe him efficient and capable of ruthlessness. John Talbot as Hal was not a CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK.”—Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 1, Spring, page 104>

<1996 “Jeremy Sinden was a CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK: a bit of a buffoon; an able comedian; a stylish farceur; and a man of the theatre . . . This relish for the stage was in the blood. As Donald Sinden's elder son, . . .”—The Independent (London), 31 May>

<2007 “The girls are a CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK - strong and happy just like their mum.”— Bath Chronicle (U.K.), 12 November>
(Oxford English Dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Oxford Dictionary of Idioms, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Wordsworth Dictionary of Proverbs, Facts on File Dictionary of Clichés, Picturesque Expressions by Urdang, Chapman’s Dictionary of American Slang, and archived sources)
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Ken G – November 17, 2007
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chip off the old block

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:44 pm

Although the Merriam Webster College Dictionary, 10th ed, agrees with your dictionary as far as the familial tie (See: "chip"). But, I have heard it used in the context of resembling or assuming the character or characteristics of someone else with whom they were closely associated. Your use of the term tutor could be phrased thusly: "Smith has studied so closely with his tutor that he has become a chip of the old block." Or the nurse: "She was raised solely by her nurse and became a chip of the old block." Hope this helps.

I have also heard the phrase "chip of[f]the old block."
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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chip off the old block

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:58 pm

The expression was in print by 1626 in the play 'Dick of Devonshire': 'Why may not I be a Chipp of the same blocke out of whih you two were cutt?' From the Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers Ballantine Books, NY,1985)
A chip would have the same characteristics of the block from which it came.
So if you have a chip (or chipp) on your shoulder, follow the trendy phychologists and blame your parents!
Reply from christine Gilpatrick (New Windsor - U.S.A.)
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A chip off the old block

Post by Nick_Theo » Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:27 pm

I know the expression "a chip off the old block" means that someone looks like one of their parents, but some dictionaries say that it refers only to character, whereas other state it refers to both character and appearance. In addition, according to a few dictionaries, when you say someone is a chip off the old block, it means they are like their fathers, not mothers. Can anyone please clarify this?
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Re: A chip off the old block

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:54 pm

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (1999 edition) describes 'a chip off the old block' as "a person whose behaviour is similar to that of his or her mother or father".

Clearly, the intended meaning is dependent on the context. If you see a mother and daughter going for a stroll who look alike and comment to your friend that "She's a chip off the old block, and no mistake!", you would obviously be referring to the similarity of their appearance.

On the other hand, if you were to make a similar comment about Saif Al-Islam El-Qaddafi upon hearing him say that his father's government is actually prevailing over the Libyan rebels, then I would take you to be referring to the traits of character or behaviour that he shares with his parent.

Note: This posting and the one above it have been merged with an earlier thread discussing the same topic. - Forum Admin.
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Re: A chip off the old block

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:38 pm

Erik, you old metapragmatist.
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Re: A chip off the old block

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:14 pm

I'm far too humble to brag about myself so egregiously.

Luckily, it seems I don't need to.
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