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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.

A whippersnapper is a young person who is presumptuous, a young person who is overconfident. The term whippersnapper is derived from the terms snipper-snapper and whip-snapper. A whip-snapper was a seventeenth-century term for a young man with nothing better to do than to hang about idly snapping a whip. Whippersnapper is one of those rare terms that has a somewhat literal origin. Today, the term is usually used in an archaic sense or as a slightly humorous term. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the correct spelling is as one word, whippersnapper, though it is occasionally seen in its hyphenated form, whipper-snapper. The plural form is whippersnappers.


Before some “whippersnapper student of rap” penned “Hamilton,” “Forbidden Broadway” was about as current as “1776.” (The Chicago Tribune)

Want to remind and share my first experience with you to all, of this new blue-jeaned young whippersnapper of a doctor with no shiny round mirror strapped to his head (far from the norm). (The Brattleboro Reformer)

Bayview Senior Resource Center recreation supervisor Jeremy Street, a non-senior whippersnapper, said the music program has been going a while, but has been growing in popularity recently as more aging boomer musicians find out about the jam. (The Pensacola News Journal)

Old Joe (really old) will be 78 when he enters the White House — if, of course, he can beat that whippersnapper incumbent Donald Trump who’ll be a mere kid at 74. (The New York Daily News)