Like many English words, tip — as in, the gratuity you leave to the waiter or the bellhop — doesn’t originate with an acronym such as To Insure Promptness. This type of tip goes back to the mid-18th century, when thieves would tip, or tap, someone in the process of acquiring or handing off stolen goods. That false etymology really a backronym, formed after the invention of the word. This is part of a complete episode.

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