[Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Excuse me, but isn't that the entire point of the whole tipping system? Isn't that exactly why tips To Insure Promptness evolved in the first place?
[Collected on the Internet, 2001]
Well you know, TIP is an acronym for "To Insure Performance" and was originally administered before the meal. You give a good tip, and that ensured that your tea/water/beer was always full.
[Collected on the Internet, 2000]
By the way, did you know where the word tip came from? It was common in English pubs several hundred years ago to have a box next to the door, with the initials, T.I.P.S., which stood for 'To Insure Prompt Service'.
Origins: Once again our lust for interesting backstories to everyday words has led many to believe that tip (used in the sense of a gratuity) came into the English language as an acronym, a word formed by combining the initial letters of a name or series of words. Disappointingly, there were no TIPS-labeled boxes into which thirsty pub patrons of centuries past stuffed their offerings in efforts to keep the libations flowing — tip entered our lexicon in much more mundane fashion. We've yet to find an acronym that predates the
Tip as an acronym appears to have three primary "explanations," none of them valid:
- To Insure Promptness
- To Insure Performance
- To Insure Prompt Service
Some maintain that a tip is not furnished ahead of time, so the above explication does not disprove the acronymic claim. In that case one once again
Tip is an old word, and it has nothing to do with either acronyms or the act of attempting to influence quality of service. Although the word has many meanings, both as a verb and as a noun, the use of the term as it applies to monetary rewards to servants dates to the 1700s. It first appeared in this context as a verb ("Then I, Sir, tips me the Verger with half a Crown" from the 1706 George Farquhar play The Beaux Stratagem) and was first recorded as a noun in 1755. However, the use of tip to describe the act of giving something to another (where that list of possible 'somethings' could include small sums of money, intelligence on horse races, or the latest silly joke) goes back to 1610. Tip slipped into the language as underworld slang, with the verb 'to tip' (meaning 'to give to or share with') being used by shady characters as part of the then-current argot of petty criminals.
Nowadays this use of tip has become entirely respectable, but it is amusing that the usage began its linguistic life as tough guy jargon. One wonders if future generations will similarly discover that some of their everyday terms sprang from scenes in The Godfather or were first voiced in episodes of The Sopranos.
Barbara "shotgun shine" Mikkelson
Sightings: In the 1996 novel E.L. Konigsburg The View From Saturday, Julian asserts posh is an acronym and explains this claim by way of the "Port out, starboard home" tale.
Last updated: 30 May 2010
Konigsburg, E.L. The View From Saturday. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1996. ISBN 0-689-81721-5 (pp. 98, 126). Rawson, Hugh. Devious Derivations. New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1994. ISBN 0-517-88128-4 (pp. 201-202). The Compact Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993. ISBN 0-19-861258-3.