Bargaining chip

Alan Baragona abaragona at SPRYNET.COM
Fri Apr 16 01:47:15 UTC 2004

Is it possible this is a chess term?  "Chip" was used for a chess piece as
early as the mid-17th century, and players do trade pieces in chess in the
hope of getting an advantage.  I don't know, however, whether "chip"
survived as a chess term late enough to be contemporary with the earliest
attestations of "bargaining chip."

Alan Baragona

----- Original Message -----
From: "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
>         So when is the Quotation Dictionary coming out, Fred?  An eager
audience awaits you!
>         I think we're at a point where we can make a few observations
about "bargaining chip":
>         1.      There is no connection with poker.  Poker is not a
bargaining game, and few if any of the citations refer to or suggest poker
in any way.
>         2.      All of the early citations come from international
relations and labor relations - areas in which negotiation as a science has
been closely studied.  It would seem likely that the phrase was originated
by an early writer on the science of negotiation, but evidence for such an
origin is lacking.
>         3.      The phrase suggests that chips represent things that can
be traded away in order to receive more valuable concessions.  This in turn
suggests an analogy from either a trading practice or a bargaining game that
uses chips, but no one has identified a trading practice or a bargaining
game as a plausible candidate.
>         4.      There is no early evidence for "bargaining chit."

More information about the Ads-l mailing list