Where Did the Term “Little Shaver” For a Small Child Come From and What Does the Expression Mean?

During the period when settlers spent a lot of time cutting wood, if a son looked or acted like his father he was called a “chip off the old block”.

It meant that except for size, the two were as clearly related as a chip cut from its original block of wood from the family tree.

A little shaver is the same, except that a shaving is smaller than a chip.

A “sprig” on the other hand, is a child too small yet to even have a branch on the family tree.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Where Did the Term “Little Shaver” For a Small Child Come From and What Does the Expression Mean?”

  1. The term is originally from the word Chavo – which is the Romany (Gypsy) word for child. As the Gypsy population migrated through-out europe, the word was adopted in english as Chavies, and in Scotland the CH became SH. The term Shavies came to America as Shaver or Shavers. Since it is a term of endearment, Little Shaver or Shavers.

    Other words have moved through europe with the Romany language.

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