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‘Whipper snapper’ is now a rather archaic term and, although you might hear it in black and white British films, those who are young and streetwise enough to actually be whipper snappers aren’t likely to use it.
‘Whipper snappers’ were known by various names, all of them derived from the habit of young layabouts of hanging around snapping whips to pass the time. Originally these ne’er-do-wells were known simply, and without any great linguistic imagination, as ‘whip snappers’.
This term merged with an existing 17th century term for street rogues – ‘snipper snappers’, to become ‘whipper snapper’. Christopher Marlowe mentions ‘snipper snapper’ in the 1604 edition of The Tragicall History of Doctor Faustus, when referring to a ‘hey-pass’, which is what street jugglers were known as in Marlowe’s day.
But I’ll seeke out my Doctor… O yonder is his snipper snapper… You, hey-pass, where’s your master?
The meaning of ‘whipper snapper’ has altered over the years, originally referring to a young man with no apparent get up and go, to later be used to mean a youngster with an excess of both ambition and impudence and a scant regard for the law.
The earliest known use of whipper-snapper in print is in the English author Richard Head’s flamboyantly named narrative on the life of the highwayman Francis Jackson – Jackson’s Recantation, or, The life & death of the notorius high-way-man, now hanging in chains at Hampstead, 1674:
Have a care of Marlbrough Downs, there are a parcel of whipper Snappers have been very busie there of late.
Jackson was hanged in 1674, on Hampstead Heath, in an area now evocatively known as Gibbet Hill.
Head’s use of ‘whipper-snappers’ suggests he meant highwaymen, but it was really a more general term meaning street thieves. A few years later the anonymous B. E., in A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew, 1699, defined the term:
Whipper-snapper, a very small but sprightly Boy.
The word whippersnapper originated from the term, “snipper snappers,” in the 17th century. The meaning of “whippersnapper” originally referred to a young male who had no ambition or “get up and go.”
Throughout the years, the term “whippersnapper” became synonymous with a young person who had an excess of impudence and ambition. The term may also have been derived from those habits of young men who idled away the time by snapping whips. The actual meaning of a whippersnapper is “a diminutive or insignificant person, especially a sprightly or impertinent youngster.” Author Christopher Marlow mentioned the term “snipper snapper” in “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustaus,” written in 1604.
Where did the word whippersnappers come from?
Whippersnapper is one of those rare terms that has a somewhat literal origin… a word that goes back hundreds of years. It is a closed compound word, a word composed of two separate words that were used together so often that they eventually melded into one word.
A “whippersnapper” is a young person who is presumptuous, overconfident, with no real talent for doing anything. “He’s too young and inexperienced to drive the buggy, a whip-snapper barely qualified to snap the whip.” The term derived from the 17th century term for a street thief, a “snipper-snapper” (snip your purse strap or snap up your wallet) and the aforementioned “whip-snapper”.
Today the term, which is usually preceded by the word “young”, is used in a slightly humorous context. “Democratic candidate Joe Biden will be 78 when he wins the White House. That is, if he can beat that young whippersnapper Trump who is mere kid at 74.”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the correct spelling is as one word, “whippersnapper”, though it is occasionally seen in hyphenated form, “whipper-snapper”. The plural form is “whippersnappers”.
Whippersnapper is a word that goes back hundreds of years. It is a closed compound word, which is a word composed of two separate words that were used together so often that they eventually became melded into one word. We will examine the meaning of the word whippersnapper, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.
Where did the saying whippersnapper come from?
It’s a fairly old-fashioned word, having been around since the late-1600s, when it apparently arose out of “whip-snapper,” which implied a general sense of lots of noise and very little importance. Around the same time, the word “whipperginnie” was a derogatory term for a woman.
Is whippersnapper a bad word?
The word whippersnapper describes a specific kind of bratty, know-it-all kid, and it’s only used by an older person who is talking about a younger person. … Around the same time, the word “whipperginnie” was a derogatory term
Is whippersnapper a compliment?
Usually the adult takes it as a high compliment. If you’re not a child then it could seem sarcastic to say that as you are already grown up. This is confirmed by his reaction (highly likely it was a man). To be called a whipper-snapper is not necessarily offensive, but it’s certainly not a compliment.
Where can I find whippersnapper Ni no Kuni?
Whippersnapper is arguably the best familiar to fulfill the role of a tank for Oliver. As part of the Vermes genus, it has an affinity with Oliver. It can be found in the Deep Dark Wood area. Its next evolutionary form is Trapper Snapper, and then it can morph into either Snaptrap or Claptrap, both of which are good.
What is a whipper snipper used for?
Whipper snippers are designed specifically to cut grass, and only grass. Do not use a whipper snipper to trim down plants with thick stalks. Using a whipper snipper to cut anything thicker and hardier than
grass could cause it to stall as leaves and other detritus start to get tangled in the trimmer line.
What does it mean to call someone “whipper-snapper”?
This is a really old fashioned word that means a precocious child. It’s what our great-grandfather might have called kids who were running
around the house making a lot of noise and disturbing his afternoon nap. By extension, the term was used for any young person who was cheeky.
What does that whipper-snapper know about anything?
You have to be old and cranky to use the word in a convincing way, although younger people can use it ironically for themselves and contemporaries.
Originally it was a slang term from the mid 1600’s that referred to aimless young men who hung out in the street. It was derived from the term “snip snappers”. However today’s reference of “whipper snapper” also has an early western antecedent. In the early west it was common for Vaqueros and American Cowboys to use whips as much as lassos to move cattle. The whips were used to “snap” over the heads of the cattle with a sharp “crack”. They were quite skillful and adept with the bull whips,
which of course led to demonstrations of competence between young men.
Young men in particular, who had time on their hands, regularly practiced what was at that time a necessary vocational skill. They often spent much leisure time picking targets off of fence posts, etc. Hence they were called “whip snappers” which transitioned into “whippersnappers”,
which became a generic pejorative used to describe “layabout, no account” cowboys usually of a young age with limited prospects of a meaningful future and limited means of support.
They were also considered unfit company for the “Pearls of Western Womanhood”. The Duke of Texas.