The etymology from whipper-snapper takes us to Hispanic Arabic muẖaṭríf, in turn derived from classical Arabic muḡaṭrif or muẖaṭrif (which can be translated as “arrogant”). The term, according to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), is used in colloquial language to refer to a nosy, intrusive, or boisterous individual.
It is often used, however, with reference to a insignificant subject either as for what moral or his physical build. A fool is someone who lacks relevance or significance.
There is an important clarification before continuing. While these adjectives that serve us to elaborate this definition can be used arbitrarily to verbally attack someone, it is common for us to call whipper-snapper to a person who has caused us any harm, or that does not recognize the limits of his freedom and pass over ours as if it has more rights than it is entitled to.
For instance: “I am not going to allow any fool to tell me what to do in my work, I am a professional with twenty years of experience”, “Does that fool pretend quarrel with me? I think I weigh twice as much as him and I’m about fifty centimeters taller … “, “That fool thinks he’s a great man but he’s just a poor devil”.
As can be seen from these examples, there is a slight nuance of surprise in the word whipper-snapper on the part of the subject, who somehow cannot believe that someone “so insignificant” is causing him problems or challenging him. For this reason, although it is an insult, it is often used in response to a series of attitudes that test patience and goodwill. It gives us the possibility of unloading the tension accumulated by that individual who does not know how to stop in time, who goes out of line and annoys others.
Petty boy as “child”
The idea squirt can also be used to refer to a kid: “I was just a fool when I first flew by plane”, “Today on television I saw a squat telling jokes that made me laugh a lot”, “When I was a fool I tried to make a cardboard rocket but the result was a fiasco”.
This meaning of the term whipper-snapper it is somewhat particular, especially if we take into account that until now its definition had a clearly negative and derogatory connotation. But all that changes when used to talk about a child. In two of the three examples above, the subject uses this word to refer to himself in his childhood, while in the second it is about an individual who sees on a television program; In none of the cases are there negative feelings, quite the contrary.
Now, we can ask ourselves why resort to this term if we have kid, for example, which is perfect for talking about a person of little age and it offers us the added benefit that any interlocutor can understand it, regardless of their country of origin, their level of education or their age. Let’s not forget that this meaning of whipper-snapper It is not widely used in all Spanish-speaking regions, nor is it precisely “modern.” Well, the main reason for choosing it is that it provides a nuance of tenderness and nostalgia for childhood.
As a proper name
“Whipper-snapper”, on the other hand, is the title of a song from Ark. This gender non-binary singer, born as Alejandro Ghersi on Venezuela and based in Spain, performs experimental and electronic music.
Whipper-snapperFinally, it is a band of rock founded in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) on 2007. His first album (“Play Off”) was featured in 2010.