How did a clipper ship get its name?
The term clipper originally applied to a fast horse and most likely derives from the term clip meaning "speed", as in "going at a good clip". The Oxford English Dictionary says its earliest quotation in English is from 1830. Cutler reports the first newspaper appearance was in 1835, and by then the term was apparently familiar. Clipper bows were distinctively narrow and heavily raked forward, which allowed them to rapidly clip through the waves.
The Cutty Sark is a clipper ship. Built in 1869, she served as a merchant vessel (the last clipper to be built for that purpose), and then as a training ship until being put on public display in 1954. She is preserved in dry dock in Greenwich, London. She was retired due to age and the cost of maintaining a large clipper ship as an operating sailing vessel.