To chip in means to contribute some money to a cause, a business, or any other effort requiring money. It can also mean to contribute to an effort in any way, such as with physical help. This usually has the connotation of being a small amount of help or money, where each of a group of people are contributing something.
Occasionally, the expression is used to mean the same as chime in such as with a remark during a discussion.
Examples Of Use
From Mark Twain’s Innocents at Home, 1869: “Pard, he was a great loss to this town. It would please the boys if you could chip in something like that, and do him justice.”
“I know it’s late, but if we all chip in we can get this place cleaned up in no time.”
“In crowd-funding, a lot of people chip in a small amount, so that just about anybody can raise loads of cash.”
“The fundraiser was a huge success. Just about everybody chipped in.”
Chip in is one of many card game related idioms. In poker, to ‘chip in’ means to bet by putting chips into the betting pool. Chips are used as a stand-in for money, with different chips having different values.
Used idiomatically since at least the 1860’s.
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