Help Us Come Up With A New Name For Potato Chips

In Britain, potato chips are known as "crisps" presumably due to their distinctive texture. In Australia, we've adopted the broader US synonym "potato chip". For the sake of effective communication, this needs to be amended forthwith. Crisps driver picture from Shutterstock

Our chief issue with the phrase potato chip (commonly shortened to "chips") is that it shares the same exact name as another widely popular snack in Australia (i.e. — the hot, deep-fried variety). This can easily lead to initially confusing conversations where you could be talking about one snack or the other.

Simply saying "I feel like some chips" to your shopping partner does not provide them with enough information. You subsequently have to dress up the phrase with additional adjectives like "crunchy" or "hot" or name a specific brand. (This is especially tedious when trying to determine what a non-communicative toddler wants to eat — I speak from experience.)

The Brits don't have this problem. When my English cousin says he wants a bag of crisps, I know exactly what he's talking about. We need a similar distinction in Australia.

What with it being Friday afternoon and all, we thought you might like to waste time solving this pointless conundrum: just what should we call potato chips in Australia?

Adopting the word crisps is too easy and would make us look like a bunch of monarchists, so we'll leave it up to you to provide the answer. We'll send the winning suggestion a bag of chips (do we mean crispy or hot? You'll have to wait and see!)

See also: Why Is There No Lunch/Dinner Equivalent To ‘Brunch’? | Why Doesn’t Chicken Have A ‘Food’ Name?


    Change hot chips name to a symbol and refer to them as "the food formally known as hot chips". It worked for Prince!

    Only a Pom or an expat would make such a suggestion!! Its all about context. If I'm in a supermarket and someone says "lets get chips" I don't go running to the Fish and Chippers! Just like if I'm in Kmart and someone says "I need some pants" I don't just start breathing heavily.

      That explains why everyone looked at me funny when I started breathing heavily in K-Mart.

      Funny you mention pants as that's another thing we do differently to the Brits

      Aussie pants = trousers.
      British pants = underwear.

        Pants are underwear in Britain? What the... And they say Australia is upside down.

        No, Brit's also call trousers, pants.

          I never used the word 'pants' to mean trousers until I moved to Australia (from the UK).

          In related language shenanigans I got the shock of my life when within a few days of moving here I saw a sign on a pub saying "no rubber thongs allowed" (which made me wonder about the extent of the problem and checking procedures to ensure adherence). I also had a momentary double take a year in, when a friend mentioned dressing smartly for a wedding in "vest, suspenders and pants".

          (thongs - only used to describe very skimpy underwear in the uk. Vest - a 'tank top' undergarment; suspenders - garter belt; )

          Actually im British and We dont call trousers pants.

          Pants = Underwear
          Trousers = Trousers

      Context doesn't always help. I walked into a Subway in the US and the menu said "chips" as part of a meal deal. Luckily the people I was with told me that meant crisps rather than "hot chips".

      I do.

    Thinly sliced unheated potato based snacking unit, or TSUPBS (Tee sup bus) for short.

    The hot variety could be heated rectangular potato based meal vector, or HRPBM (Herp, bee muv)

    Or if that's too hard, chips and chips. People need to add context to conversations and kids just need to eat what is given.

      What happens when you get gems or wedges? Or if the gods are in an especially happy mood, the happy faced hot chips? Your rectangular based name is broken!

        Heated unthinned potato based meal vector (HUPBMV or Hup Bumv). Now everyone is happy!

        ... EVERYONE >:C


    If we change Chips to something else, then what do we call Corn Chips?

    Wait, what do people in the UK call Corn Chips?

      Wait, what do people in the UK call Corn Chips?

      They can be referred to as corn chips, but you more commonly see "tortillas". People also use the genericised brand name of "Doritos", much like we refer to healing plasters as "Band-aids™". Technically, corn chips and tortilla chips are 2 different things, but hey.....

    What's wrong with crisps? When I moved to Australia 5 years ago, one of my roommates was a Pommie girl. She convinced all of us of the wisdom of calling those savoury snacks (all of them regardless of particular vegetable origin) crisps so that you always know whether someone's talking about a bagged snack or of chips.

    My wife is British and I lived there for a few years, so I've just converted to crisps. I think there are enough poms down under that even the locals know what crisps are.

    A true Australian name? Chazzwazzers.

      Interestingly, I'd have called them chazwazzers too.

      The way things are at the moment with bogan culture taking over, it'd be "chazzies" or "chazzoes"

    I agree with @barb - there is nothing wrong with "crisps".
    Another option... What about "fries" and "chips"?

      "Fries" is horrendously American and also has an association with skinny-style french fries. What if you wanted fat steak chips or crinkle-cut? Eh? Eh?

        That's a far more important issue in my opinion: restaurants/pubs mistakenly calling chips fries and fries chips. If I order chips, I expect something chunky and delicious.

          Whenever I order chips in a pub, the only thing chunky and delicious about them is the bar maid

    Oh, and we can't call them crisps, because people would just call them crips. Like they call their children Detstiny ("My child is the betsts. Her name is Detstiny!")

    "Chippies". The Gobbledock beat youse all!

      I always wondered whether the guy in the Gobbledock costume was a dwarf or a kid. These days he'd be a cheap CGI nightmare, of course.

    Salty Handheld Individual Treats?
    Chip Related, Apparently Potato?

    You can't go with chips and then have fish and chips. Crisps's for me.

    Fries: Maccas style stringy chips
    Chips: Thick cut chips
    Crisps: Potato chips

    I've heard some people use "chippies" for crisps as well.

    When I used to take the £10-00 Poms out there in the 60's onboard the Rangitiki, Rangitoto & other Rangi Boats I was a chef & I used to make my own crisps for the 4,000 Passengers & Crew & I think they were called "Sanitovis" on the Menu. "Junk Food" Dont bother to send Me Any TY. XX

    if i had a company that made the hottest chips in the world id call them......SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION TONS OF EXPLOSIONS IN EVERY BAG !!!!!!!!

    Call them Ada Potada's

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