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A chip off the old block

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The idiom a chip off the old block dates back to the 1600s, though the exact rendering and meaning of the phrase has evolved over time. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of the phrase a chip off the old block, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A chip off the old block refers to someone who closely resembles his parent either in behavior, looks, interests or character. Most often, the idiom a chip off the old block refers to a son and his father, but not always. The term was originally rendered as a chip of the same block, and was first used in Dr. Sanderson’s Sermon in 1637: “Am not I a child of the same Adam … a chip of the same block, with him?” At this time the phrase referred to any two people who came from the same familial line. By the 1800s, the term evolved to a chip off the old block and came to mean someone who closely resembles his parent.

Examples

Animal lover Scott said Emily “was absolutely brilliant with the snake and a chip off the old block”. ()

Some would argue that she is a chip off the old block – I would never profess to be any authority on pacing! ()

Quite clearly he was making it up as he went along (a chip off the old block!) but it was delivered with panache. ()

In the Long family, being a chip off the old block means making your own decisions, even if they seem like something dad would do. ()


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