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Aug 27, 2008 08:37 AM

T.I.P.S.= To Insure Proper/Prompt Service?

I stand by the fact that "tips" has no hidden meaning, since people frequently confuse "insure" and "ensure".

1. to guarantee against loss or harm.
2. to secure indemnity to or on, in case of loss, damage, or death.
3. to issue or procure an insurance policy on or for.

1. to secure or guarantee
2. to make sure or certain

To Ensure Proper Service would make sense, but doesn't work with the word "tips". People always claim, "TIPS means such and such" (for example, the sixth response in this post: ), but I don't think that's the case. TIPS means nothing at all, besides whatever the word's actual etymology is.


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  1. A basic rule of thumb in the etymology game is, words are very, very rarely formed from acronyms, with the exception of certain 20th century terms like radar, sonar, laser, etc.

    Claiming that origin for tips, like the similar claim often made for posh ("port out starboard home") is completely bogus, a retrofit of a contrived phrase to a perfectly good pre-existing word. There's even a term for this: backronym.

    5 Replies
      1. re: invinotheresverde

        So I guess the old "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" story is also bogus, right?

          1. re: grampart

            As is "Fornication Under Consent of the King"

        1. The only time TIPS would mean to insure proper service is when you pay the Gecko and he gurantees that your receive the service and if not he will pay you the policy amount

          jfood once read that the term comes from the bible but he just tried to google and came up empty. if anyone has the link to that historical perspective jfood would appreciate it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jfood


            my hats off to the writers of this wiki on tipping.

            1. re: jfood

              i think there was an injunction in the OT to always tip the scales (this is also the source of that expression) in the favor of the customer, in other words balance the scales and then throw a bit more on in the customers favor.

            2. According to Webster's it says that insure is:
              1 : to provide or obtain insurance on or for
              2 : to make certain especially by taking necessary measures and precautions
              I think that it would make sense with number two.
              Also Ensure and Insure both come from the same middle english word, asseurer so I don't seen an issue with its

              1. T.I.P.S.
                To Insure Proper Sanitation.

                You don't know where those smaller bills have been... Don't go into that dark and slimy gutter.

                Best to leave all those smaller bills in the hands of those who have a higher metabolism and better immune system.

                ;) It's a Win-Win situation.

                1. I have some Ensure coupons.