Definition of dipper in English:



  • 1A short-tailed songbird related to the wrens, frequenting fast-flowing streams and able to swim, dive, and walk under water to feed.

    • ‘Sunnyhurst Brook, which runs the length of the woods, is known among the birdwatching community as an excellent place to spot kingfisher, grey wagtail, dipper and heron.’
    • ‘The dipper takes prey from the water's surface while swimming, and will even use its wings to ‘fly’ under water.’
    • ‘Wildlife photographer Harold Hems records an unusually sited nest under a waterfall in a position usually associated with dippers.’
    • ‘On the stones I watched a dipper and a pair of grey wagtails.’
    • ‘Our only company was a dipper that dived into the middle of the flow, surfaced after about ten seconds, whirred for a skimming white flashing 20 or 50 yards up river and then dived again.’
    • ‘Swallows were chasing insects over the water and I watched dippers and grey wagtails feeding their young.’
    • ‘The Greta is one of the most important rivers in the North of England, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, home to otters, herons, kingfishers, dippers, trout and salmon, and the main feeder to Bassenthwaite Lake.’
    • ‘Just lay back against a tree among the wood anemones and the bluebells (some out already), with the roar of the cascading water, the antics of a dipper and the calm cruising of a grey heron.’
    • ‘Resident birds include kingfisher, dipper and grey wagtail and on most days of the year the heron can be seen.’
    • ‘Look out for dippers and raptors; on my last visit a golden eagle gave a fly-past!’
    • ‘I also spotted a male kingfisher, herons and several dippers.’
    • ‘Native birds, a category including buzzards, dippers and swifts, showed rises in population of 14 per cent in the region during the period, in contrast to England overall, where there was no change in numbers.’
    • ‘In fall and winter, look for bald eagles, American dippers, mergansers, red-shafted Northern flickers, red-tailed hawks, and Townsend's solitaires.’
  • 2A ladle or scoop.

    • ‘Using paint buckets and dippers, men and women spent a full hour hurling black-tinted white paint at doors and windows.’
    • ‘He scooped water from a bucket with a dipper, then poured it over both sides of the blade.’
    • ‘With a sweeping gesture, she lowered the dipper into the steaming cauldron holding the noxious purple brew that was going to cure Alicia's headaches and Chino's gall-bladder problems.’
    • ‘She plunged a dipper into it and began to ladle creamy milk into the pail.’
    • ‘Of course at that same hardware store where Granddad bought the car, all the customers drank cool spring water from a communal dipper that hung on a hook above the barrel.’
    • ‘She watched as her new friend poured the rest of the water from the dipper back into the well, and did the same with the contents of the bucket.’
    • ‘Without a word, the man reached into a bucket and pulled out a dipper full of water.’
    • ‘Then, skipping the pot all together, he just put the hot water into the dipper.’
    • ‘The slaves made dippers out of gourds and the water in the gourd dipper was cooler than the water in the glass dipper.’
    • ‘He walks over to the well, and draws up a bucket, then takes a sip from the dipper.’
    • ‘I run to the rainwater barrel and fill the dipper.’
    • ‘Gourds also provide a wide range of dippers, cups, and spoons.’
    • ‘Formerly in Crete, the dipper had appeared exclusively as coarse kitchenware and may have been used only for cooking.’
    spoon, ladle, dipper
    View synonyms
  • 3A person who dips something in liquid.

    • ‘No farmer should employ dippers unless they hold an appropriate licence.’
  • 4informal A pickpocket.

    • ‘Isn't it time some of the big-time dippers spent some time in the slammer as well?’
  • 5informal, archaic A Baptist or Anabaptist.