Where Did the Word “whippersnapper” Originate?

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The word whippersnapper originated from the term, “snipper snappers,” in the 17th century. The meaning of “whippersnapper” originally referred to a young male who had no ambition or “get up and go.”

Throughout the years, the term “whippersnapper” became synonymous with a young person who had an excess of impudence and ambition. The term may also have been derived from those habits of young men who idled away the time by snapping whips. The actual meaning of a whippersnapper is “a diminutive or insignificant person, especially a sprightly or impertinent youngster.” Author Christopher Marlow mentioned the term “snipper snapper” in “The Tragical History of Doctor Faustaus,” written in 1604.