While I was in the Navy, we used the term “chit” for just about everything. We had:
- leave chits
- liberty chits
- bed rest chits
- late sleepers chits
- chow chits
- beard chits
- no shave chits
- light duty chits
The list goes on and on. I’ve always found the term humorous. Everything required a “chit”.
So… 20 years after I walked off the brow of the USS Ashland (LSD 48) with my terminal leave “chit” in hand, I finally got around to looking up the origin.
Here it is…
One tradition carried on in the Navy is the use of the “chit.” It is a carry over from the days when Hindu traders used slips of paper called “citthi” for money, so they wouldn’t have to carry heavy bags of gold and silver.
British sailors shortened the word to chit and applied it to their mess vouchers. Its most outstanding use in the Navy today is for drawing pay and a form used for requesting leave and liberty. But the term is currently applied to almost any piece of paper from a pass to an official letter requesting some privilege.
Now you have it. And so do I. I can check this off my Bucket List Chit.