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13 comments on this post.
  1. Tom:

    Tips comes from the ara of time when people would enter a restaurant and give money to the host to insure proper service. This was always done before the meal.

  2. Nick:

    I believe you’re correct in terms of the word not being an accronym given its time of origin. As far as when to tip, if you’ve ever seen goodfellas, you tip at the beginning to ensure that you’re taken care of. It’s possible that over time that good service was expected and than rewarded, or not.

  3. Marino:

    To lmprove promptness does’t make sense. The service had been provided already

  4. Functional Lye:

    When TIP was adopted into the Gratuity portion of services provided; it also adopted the meaning “To Insure Promptness”
    Words have root meaning and they were displayed well here. However, words also evolve.
    Have a nice day

  5. Ronda:

    I thought the acronym stood for, “to insure proper service.”

  6. Steve Henderson:

    I agree that ‘trp’ would work, but, I would have to apply the acronym ‘trap’ to many commercial services I’ve received: “to reward adequate promptness.”

  7. Tom Biggs:

    In Joolz Guide’s Youtube video (“Funny English Idioms – and why we say them!”) He shows a Twinnings Tea museum that goes back to the 1700s, which has box that says ‘T.I.P’ with a slot for money ‘to insure promptness’.

  8. Michael ODonnell:

    In 18th century coffee houses in London. Written on the side of the coffee bowls they drank from. ” To insure promptitude”

  9. joshi:

    to improve performance

  10. Harry p:

    To Insure Promptness and done prior to service as a bribe to be the preferred customer. As we can guess, over time, if everyone did it before hand, it lost the intended influence. So, it evolved from being a bribe before the service to a reward for service given.

  11. Fritz:

    Acronyms were used internally by businesses in the 18th century. Another word with a similar history is Spiff

    This was a sales incentive and SPIF is the acronym used to abbreviate the full phrase Sales Performance Incentive Fund
    OED credits its use as a slang work to an 1859 slang dictionary with this definition
    “The percentage allowed by drapers to their young men when they effect sale of old fashioned or undesirable stock.”
    The Pall Mall Gazette Apr 2, 1890 had this to say.
    ‘a “spiff” system is usually adopted, spiffs being premiums placed on certain articles, not of the last fashion, indicated by a marvelous hieroglyphic put on the price ticket. These marks are well known by the assistant, and the almost invisible mystic sign explains why an article, wholly unsuitable, is foisted on the jaded customer as “just the thing.”‘
    Being told you look “just spiffy” is not a compliment :P

    This acronym with it’s 1859 drapers merchant meaning is still current in business and has spread far beyond the drapers.

    No one knows who used it first, other than it started with drapers (cloth merchants) who used SPIF bonuses to encourage sales clerks to push the clearance goods.

    Before the printing press, failure to use abbreviations, acronyms and symbols to reduce the amount of writing needed was uncommon. With the advent of the printing press, fully spelled out words became more common, but abbreviations, acronyms, special symbols and other character count shortening measures continue to be used due to the effort needed to set the type. Offset printing and other modern printing machines that transfer an image of the page have made abbreviated text less useful, but inertia causes continued use, with many special characters being added to the standard character set including, but not limited to “+-&%@#$^*”, etc.

  12. Patnav:

    The relevant part is from 2:40. If it won’t play it’s to do with Twinings tea shop in london

  13. Patrick Needham:

    Drat.. seems I lost the link.. but check out joolz guides English idioms

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