have a chip on (your) shoulder


1. behave in an unpleasant or angry way






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have a chip on your shoulder about how you were treated

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If someone says you 'have a chip on your shoulder' it means you have a bad attitude or hold a grudge. If you 'have a chip on your shoulder' it means you feel wronged or as if you have been treated unfairly when that may not in fact be the case or you feel that you are inferior to others.

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. Claire responds very badly to any kind of criticism. She must have a chip on her shoulder about something.
  2. I had a chip on my shoulder for a long time about not going to private school but I realise now it's not important in the grand scheme of things.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. John hasn't spoken more than a few words to me in weeks. He has a chip on his shoulder because I got the promotion ahead of him.
  2. Lucy isn't at all happy that she was singled out for criticism in the report. She's developed a bit of a chip on her shoulder over it.

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