early 15c., "to chip" (intransitive, of stone); from Old English forcippian "to pare away by cutting, cut off," verbal form of cipp "small piece of wood" (see chip (n.)). Transitive meaning "to cut up, cut or trim" is from late 15c. Sense of "break off fragments" is 18c. To chip in "contribute" (1861) is American English, perhaps from card-playing. Related: Chipped; chipping. Chipped beef attested from 1826.