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Let the chips fall where they may

  • Let the chips fall where they may has an idiom with an interesting origin. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom let the chips fall where they may, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.


     

    Let the chips fall where they may is an idiom that means to be satisfied with the results of something. The phrase is usually used when one is doing everything one can to achieve a certain outcome, but at a certain point, the outcome is out of one’s hands and whatever will happen, will happen. The unspoken sentiment in let the chips fall where they may is that one has done everything possible and is at peace with the consequences, or one has acted in good conscience and in line with one’s morals and is at peace with the consequences. Let the chips fall where they may is an American idiom that came into use in the late 1800s and refers to wood chips scattering as one chops wood. The image is of one concentrating on the work at hand, not on the inconsequential chips of wood.

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    Examples

    “You’ve got to come out and play your ‘A-game’ every night and play solid football for four quarters and let the chips fall where they may,” Pendleton said. (The Huntington Herald Dispatch)

    “He should just come out for what he believes in and let the chips fall where they may,” says Ms. Whitfield, a charter bus driver who is now unemployed due to COVID-19. (The Christian Science Monitor)

    “If there’s not going to be information that shows that it is safe, I can’t just go in and let the chips fall where they may in terms of my long-term health,” Milstein said. (The Tennessean)


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