You are probably wondering right about the differences between crisps and chips. Do they actually refer to the same thing? It depends on where you are currently located. Interestingly, the definitions in the United States are different from the definitions in the United Kingdom. Below, you can find out more about how crisps vs chips differ from each other.
Continue reading below to learn more about:
– The definitions of crisps and chips
– How the words “crisps” and “chips” were first used
– How the words “crisps” and “chips” are used in different countries
In the United States, potato chips are thin slices of potatoes that are fried and served cold. These are the typical potato chips that you find as snacks and in some restaurants. Meanwhile, French fries are wedges or slices of potatoes that are fried and served hot – often found in fast food restaurants. Finally, a crisp is completely unrelated to potatoes; it is a fruit dessert with sweet crumbs as the topping. See also: Potato Chips vs Corn Chips.
Canadians use the same definitions as Americans for “chips” and “crisps”. Some Europeans also use these definitions.
However, in Great Britain and Ireland, the definitions differ very much. Potato chips are referred to as “crisps” and French fries are referred to as “chips”. In some places, speakers of British English may also refer to potato wedges as “chips” and potato strips as “fries”.
There is one easy way to recall the distinctions between crisps and chips in British English, which is by recalling one of the most well-known dishes in the region: fish and chips. It has pieces of battered fried fish and potatoes, which are all served hot.
However, in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the words “crisps” and “chips” have even more different meanings. People use the term “crisps” as a blanket term for all fried potato products, both hot and cold. The term “packet crisps” specifically refers to slices of potatoes that are fried and served cold. Finally, the term “chips” refers to corn chips or tortilla chips, which are made from ingredients other than potatoes.
So, why are there so many different definitions? Around the 1440s, the Oxford English Dictionary recorded the word “chip” as a paring of bread-crust. This definition has become obsolete since the sixteenth century. However, in 1769, the Oxford English Dictionary defined chips as chunks or slices of fruits or vegetables which were dried or preserved, except for potato chips which were typically fried.
In the late nineteenth century, deep-fried julienne potatoes became popular in Great Britain. However, they were still called chip-potatoes, fried chip-potatoes, or simply chips. Then, American-style potato chips were introduced into the country as well. To avoid confusion, these American-style potato chips were called potato crisps or simply crisps.
Meanwhile, the United States developed their own vocabulary for the variations of fried potatoes. In the mid-nineteenth century, fried potato slices were called potato chips. In the late nineteenth century, deep-fried julienne potatoes became popular; to avoid confusion, the Americans referred to these deep-fried julienne potatoes as French-fried potatoes or French fries.
Crisps vs Chips
|- In the US: fruit dessert with sweet crumb topping||- In the US: thin potato slices, fried and served cold|
|- In Great Britain & Ireland:thin potato slices, fried and served cold||- In Great Britain & Ireland: potato wedges/strips, fried, served hot|
|- In Australia, NZ, South Africa: all fried potato products||- In Australia, NZ, South Africa: corn chips or tortilla chips|
Different countries have their own definitions for crisps and chips. In the United States, a crisp is a fruit dessert with a sweet crumb topping, completely unrelated to potatoes. Chips are thin slices of potatoes that are fried and served cold. French fries are fried and served hot. Meanwhile, in Great Britain and Ireland, chips are called “crisps”, whereas French fries are called “chips”.