What is the difference between a sliver and a chip in the meaning of broken piece of something?

  • When dictionary definitions conflict or are imprecise, and when questions of common usage arise, what else should a questioner include? Native speakers say sliver and chip in different contexts. I think it's an interesting question. – KarlG Jan 18 '18 at 16:19

A sliver is small, narrow, and most likely sharp enough to penetrate the skin.

A chip is any small piece broken off from something else without reference to shape or sharpness, though dictionary.com seems to think chips are small and slender as well. Wood chips that come from a wood chipper or the wood chips you buy at a garden store are small but rarely narrow.

A chip can also be what it is and what it isn't: a glass or piece of crockery might have a chip, that is, a chip missing, but the missing chip is, obviously, also a chip.

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  • And, of course, a gambling token is a chip. – Hot Licks Jan 18 '18 at 13:16
  • @HotLicks: The OP asked only about meanings dealing with broken pieces, so no slivers of cake or poker, micro-, potato, or cow chips. – KarlG Jan 18 '18 at 19:09

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