What does the idiom "chip off the old block" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase chip off the old block, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression chip off the old block used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "chip off the old block"


The phrase 'chip off the old block' is an idiom used to refer to someone who has inherited the traits and characteristics of their parent or other relative. It suggests that the person is very similar to their relative in terms of personality, physical appearance, and behavior. It can also be used to refer to someone who is following in a relative's footsteps in terms of profession or accomplishment.


The origin of the phrase 'chip off the old block' comes from the Bible, specifically from the Book of Proverbs, 22:6. In the King James Bible, this verse reads "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." This phrase has been interpreted as a command from God to instill moral values and teachings in children so that they will stay true to them when they are older. Through time, the phrase evolved to become 'chip off the old block' and acquired its current meaning.


The phrase 'chip off the old block' is typically used to describe a person's character or physical appearance, but it can also be used to describe their accomplishments or the type of work they do. It is usually a positive form of praise, as it implies that the person has been able to carry on the positive qualities of their relative, or follow in their relative's footsteps. It may also be used in a teasing manner, to suggest that the person is excessively similar to their relative.

Example Sentences

  • That boy is a chip off the old block—he already knows how to fix the car just like his grandfather did!
  • Most of the doctors in the family are chips off the old block. They all went to the same medical school!
  • She's just like her mother—a real chip off the old block!

The meanings of the words in the "chip off the old block" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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