bargaining chips

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Mon Apr 19 14:13:39 UTC 2004

 A. Murie:

It seems reasonable to me that the "chip" could come from poker without
stretching, since the chip represents a challenge to the other players
to meet it or back off. "Bargaining" is added when "chip" becomes the
metaphor for the challenge put on the table in negotiations. (I lay my
two cents on the table!)

 John Baker:

But that postulates a change in meaning.  From the earliest cites, a
bargaining chip is something that you give up in exchange for something
that is more valuable to you.  Not that the change in meaning is too
much of a stretch, but there's no evidence for it.  Contrary to Mr.
Rumsfeld, absence of evidence is evidence (though not proof) of absence.

Not quite. A bargaining chip is something that you OFFER to give up in
exchange for something of greater (or equal?) value to you. And when you
put a chip into the pot in poker, you are committing yourself to give it
up if you lose, but you're also either meeting another player's
challenge or issuing a challenge of your own.

-- Mark A. Mandel, Research Administrator
   Information Extraction from the Biomedical Literature
   University of Pennsylvania

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