chippy: touchy and defensive / rough and belligerent


Senior Member

I was watching Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and there's a dialogue where George calls Nick "chippy" when he gets upset over something. It's clear from the context that the meaning is "touchy and defensive." But the Oxford dictionary online at also gives another definition:
North American (Of an ice-hockey game or player) rough and belligerent: a chippy game

Is that second meaning relegated only to ice hockey?
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    To me, 'chippy' means easily offended and over sensitive, quick to take offence perhaps from the expression 'to have a chip on one's shoulder' meaning to have a grudge especially about social inferiority. Of course the noun has other meanings in BE, and these terms might be used wherever ice hockey's played, but in everyday talk it doesn't mean belligerent or rough.
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