a chip on (one's) shoulder

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a chip on (one's) shoulder

An attitude that leads one to become combative or easily angered. Fred has such a chip on his shoulder—you never know what's going to set him off next. She won't admit it, but Kate has a chip on her shoulder when it comes to discussing her career.
See also: chip, on, shoulder

*chip on one's shoulder

Fig. a bad attitude that tends to get someone easily upset. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give one ~.) Why did you get so angry at the slightest criticism? You seem to have a chip on your shoulder.
See also: chip, on, shoulder

a chip on your shoulder

a strong and usually long-standing inclination to feel resentful or aggrieved, often about a particular thing; a sense of inferiority characterized by a quickness to take offence. informal
In 1830 the Long Island Telegraph described the practice which gave rise to this expression: ‘When two churlish boys were determined to fight, a chip would be placed on the shoulder of one, and the other demanded to knock it off at his peril’.
See also: chip, on, shoulder

chip on (one's) shoulder

A habitually hostile or combative attitude.
See also: chip, on, shoulder