A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 06, 2019
“Let the chips fall where they may” (to allow events to unfold naturally)

The expression “let the chips fall where they may” means to allow events to unfold naturally. “What happens happens” is a similar, more modern saying.

“Let the chips fall where they may” originated in cutting wood, and the “chips”—now proverbial—were wood chips. “Cut to the line, let the chips fly where they will” was printed in the Daily Cleveland Herald (Cleveland, OH) on July 15, 1835. “Hew according to line, and let the chips fly where they will” was printed in the Indiana State Sentinel (Indianapolis, IN) on November 2, 1841.  “Hew to the line let the chips fall where they may” was printed in the Cadiz (OH) Democratic Sentinel on July 2, 1857.

The Broad Ax newspaper (1895-1931) of Chicago, Illinois, had on its masthead since April 3, 1909: “HEW TO THE LINE; LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY.”


Wiktionary: let the chips fall where they may
Verb
let the chips fall where they may

1. (idiomatic) To allow events to unfold naturally; to accept what occurs without prejudice, worry, or regret.
Usage notes
Functions as a proverb when used in the imperative mood to express a general directive for how to cope with life’s vagaries.

Wikipedia: The Broad Ax
The Broad Ax (1895-1931) was a weekly newspaper that began publication on Aug. 31, 1895, originally in Salt Lake City, Utah, by Julius F. Taylor. After a series of conflicts with the Latter Day Saints, Taylor relocated the newspaper to Chicago, Illinois in 1899. The Broad Ax has been described as “the most controversial black newspaper in Chicago in the late nineteenth century,” in some ways due to its criticism of Booker T. Washington.

The last known surviving issue of The Broad Ax is dated September 10, 1927, but an obituary for Taylor published in The Chicago Defender states that the newspaper ceased publication in 1931.

15 July 1835, Daily Cleveland Herald (Cleveland, OH), pg. 2, col. 1:
Our Northern Boundary—May a bountiful Providence always smile on those lads of Lucas county that are ready to cut to the line, let the chips fly where they will.

Chronicling America
2 November 1841, Indiana State Sentinel (Indianapolis, IN), pg. 2, col. 5:
From the Vevay Times.
INDIANA STATE BANK.—(...) The democrats have a majority in the Lower House; let them come up to the chalk, hew according to line, and let the chips fly where they will, and see whether the whig Senate or whig Governor will do their duty.

9 February 1854, The Country Gentleman (Albany, NY), “Fruit Culture at the West,” pg. 90, col. 3:
We should have preferred a determination to “hew to the line, let the chips fly as they may.”

23 December 1855, Daily Free Democrat (Milwaukee, WI), “Temperance and Slavery,” pg. 2, col. 1:
I hew to the line, and let the chips fly in whose face they will.

10 July 1856, Belvidere (IL) Standard, pg. 3, col. 1:
THE WARREN REPUBLICAN.—(...) You have our best wishes friend Blaisdell—hoping you will ever hew to the line of that inscription, let the chips fly where they will.

2 July 1857, Cadiz (OH) Democratic Sentinel, pg. 2, col. 2:
Then you may “hew to the line let the chips fall where they may.”
(Letter of W. S. V. Prentiss.—ed.)

21 March 1861, The Centre Democrat (Bellefonte, PA), pg. 2, col. 1:
We Hew to the Line, let the Chips fall where they may.

3 April 1862, The Country Gentleman (Albany, NY), “Remarks on Back Numbers,” pg. 225, col. 3:
He is no fence man—he comes right at the point—hews to the line, let the chips fly where they may.

Google Books
Proceedings of the American Federation of Labor, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892
Bloomington, IL: Pantagraph Printing and Stationery Co.
1906
Pg. 43 (1889):
Mr. P. J. McGuire replied to the sentiment “Hew to the line—let the chips fall where they may.”

Chronicling America
14 September 1895, The Broad Ax (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 1, col. 4:
BROAD AX will continue to “hew to the line,” let the chips fall where they may.
("Hew to the Line” is on the masthead.—ed.)

Chronicling America
3 April 1909, The Broad Ax (Chicago, IL), pg. 1 masthead:
HEW TO THE LINE; LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY

OCLC WorldCat record
Let the chips fall: my battles against corruption
Author: Newbold Morris
Publisher: New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts [©1955]
Edition/Format: eBook : Document : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Timber! or, Let the chips fall where they may (they usually do) A saga of the North Woods.
Author: Roger Tillinghast Clapp; Providence Art Club.
Publisher: [Providence, R.I.] 1962.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Let the chips fall : a collection of thoughts of a woodchopper
Author: Charles C Hotle
Publisher: [Washington, Iowa?] : Washington Pub. Co., 1991.
Edition/Format:
Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Let the chips fall where they may? : executive and constituency influences on congressional voting on NAFTA
Author: Eric M Uslaner
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Legislative studies quarterly. Vol. 23, no. 3 (Aug. 1998)

Urban Dictionary
let the chips fall where they may
A figure of speech which means, “What happens happens.”
“Let the imminent events unfold.”
There, I told you all I know, so let the chips fall where they may.
by LarstaiT May 31, 2005

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Thursday, June 06, 2019 • Permalink