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Chipper - not a question, but some answers

Posted by Lotg (1st fleet stock) on September 12, 2004

I described ACME as being chipper today. I've asked once before if anyone knew the origins. James Briggs came back to me with a dictionary definition but said he couldn't find the origin.

So, having used the word yet again, it reignited my curiousity (that's if a curiousity can be ignited in the first place). I did some dictionary surfing (you'll all be thrilled to hear) and MW, Dictionary.com and American Heritage say the following:

"perhaps alteration of English dialect 'kipper' (lively)".

Infoplease says,
\Chip"per\, a. Lively; cheerful; talkative. [U. S.]

1. to chirp or twitter.
2. to chatter or babble.

Webster seems to like it both ways.

Encarta says:
"[Early 18th century. Origin uncertain: probably an imitation of the sound, influenced by chirrup.]"

So 'kipper' or 'chirrup' seem to be the popular possible origins. Personally, I like 'kipper' for no scientific reason whatsoever. But which dictionary do we believe?