Off or of?

Mr. Mark Hedges
Country Life
London, England

Dear Sir:

Forgive me for seeming pedantic but I understand there is conflicting etymology and usage of the term “chip off the old block” and “chip of the block”. The former captures what this old fogey considers purely the popular vernacular (and I say this with an undisguised element of asperity) while the latter connotes a more literary bent without the excuse of device.

I think it is important for us ancients to address these trifling issues or otherwise young people might deliberately be left to fall – such as when mistakenly referring to a restauranteur rather than restaurateur (an inaccuracy which makes me wince). Once again a simple matter of etymology.  I feel there must be limits beyond usage and popularity to sustain accuracy. That in my experience is much more better!

Bill (Chapman)

PS Love the magazine. Keep up the good work. I marvel at your creativity and industry.

It was first used in 1621 in Robert Sanderson’s Sermons, where it says, “Am not I a child of the same Adam … a chip of the same block, with him?” At this time, the phrase referred to two people from the same familial line.