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To have a chip on someone?s shoulder or to have a chip on shoulder about something/someone means to hold a grudge or be extremely sensitive about something. It can sometimes imply an aversion towards a topic or a person. The saying comes from ancient times when events escalated after ship builders abused the right to take home leftover wood.
Origin of the ?Chip on Shoulder? Expression
In ancient times, shipwrights from the Royal Navy Dockyards had the right to take home offcuts of timber daily. But when shipwrights abused this right and cut up good timber just for this purpose, the Navy Board decided to lower the number of chips a shipwright can carry home. They did so by ordering them to hold the chips under their arms, and not on their shoulders.
Soon after the decision came, an employee refused to lower the wood bundles from his shoulders and, together with the main body of employees, forced his way out through the gateway.
Example of ?Chip on Shoulder? Used in a Sentence
?It?s obvious Sue has a chip on her shoulder about losing at Monopoly.?
If you want to go deeper into the non-technical questions you might encounter during an IT interview, you can also give our articles on the meaning of “tip of the iceberg” or what “play it by ear” means a read.