Definition of lip in English:


nounPlural lips

  • 1Either of the two fleshy parts which form the upper and lower edges of the opening of the mouth.

    ‘he kissed her on the lips’
    • ‘I saw my mother's upper lip twitching, generally signaling that she was going to break down any second.’
    • ‘During the early stages of pregnancy, the upper lip and palate develop from tissues lying on either side of the tongue.’
    • ‘On its face, the upper lip, mandible, and tip of the muzzle are silvery white to yellowish.’
    • ‘I think that it is important to see the facial dimensions and the size and shape of the lips to truly gauge a result.’
    • ‘They also have large vibrissae, stiff whisker-like hairs above the upper lip and at the corners of the mouth.’
    • ‘She spoke up thoughtfully, chewing a pink lower lip.’
    • ‘Also, there are many minor salivary glands, present throughout the mouth within the lips, cheeks, tongue, and palate.’
    • ‘A cleft lip is a condition that creates an opening in the upper lip between the mouth and nose.’
    • ‘She caught her lip between her teeth, torn between grief and guilt.’
    • ‘She licked her full, pink lips and nonchalantly flipped her blond hair over her shoulder.’
    • ‘The eyelids, lips, ears, nose, cheeks and all the fleshy parts have an appearance approaching their natural state.’
    • ‘The mouth consists of the lips, teeth, tongue, and soft and hard palates.’
    • ‘Cancer of the lip and oral cavity is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the tissues of the lip or mouth.’
    • ‘A low ridge crosses the posterior surface of the blade from its medial edge to the dorsal lip of the glenoid cavity.’
    • ‘Traces of the eyes, lips, retractor muscles or other head structures are not discernible.’
    • ‘He sank back down, closed his mouth and puckered out his thin lower lip in a trademark sulky expression.’
    • ‘His voice was shaking slightly as he spoke and his lower lip trembled.’
    • ‘He smiled, before leaning in and pressing his parted lips to my neck.’
    • ‘He nodded and smiled, his thin pink lips curling up and exposing his white teeth.’
    • ‘He bit his lip in anticipation, his grey eyes studying her face.’
    1. 1.1lips Used to refer to a person's speech or to current topics of conversation.
      ‘downsizing is on everyone's lips at the moment’
      • ‘They are on the cover of every magazine and on the lips of every gossip columnist..’
      • ‘Still, it was almost comforting to know that it wasn't going to be the topic on everybody's lips.’
      • ‘So close that you caused a scandal that raced through every gossipmonger's lips in the room.’
      • ‘He brought laughs to the lips of millions, and he will be sorely missed.’
      • ‘The use of the yoke is a natural figure of speech on the lips of a carpenter-turned-teacher.’
      • ‘Certainly when I worked there, decentralisation was a topic on everyone's lips and not a lot of people wanted to move.’
      • ‘Change is the topic on everyone's lips in tourism these days.’
      • ‘The hot topic on everyone's lips right now is good versus bad manners.’
    2. 1.2
      another term for labium (sense 1,
  • 2The edge of a hollow container or an opening.

    ‘the lip of the cup’
    • ‘Press it around the edge or lip of a container, and it forms a spill-proof seal.’
    • ‘The olla has a body diameter of 20.5 cm, a short, evened neck, and a rounded lip.’
    • ‘They have expanding necks, rounded to flat lips, and rounded to flat bases.’
    • ‘Next, cut a notch in the container and using some dirt, build a ramp from the pond to the lip of the container.’
    • ‘By placing the lip of the cup under the stem of the fruit, a simple push upward breaks the fruit free.’
    • ‘It lingered on the lip of the cup for fully two seconds as Woods and his caddie Steve Williams froze in their tracks, bent over as if praying.’
    • ‘It is very unlikely that the medication can be poured into the container on the sterile field without touching the lip of the container.’
    • ‘Use glue gun to affix embroidery mesh to inside lip of frame.’
    • ‘But it hangs on, catches the left lip of the cup, slides along the edge all the way over to the right side-and falls into the hole.’
    • ‘The compound bowls have evened rims with rounded to rolled lips and flat bases.’
    • ‘She was quiet while he talked, watching him over the lip of her raised cup of tea.’
    • ‘Christopher continued to stare down at his coffee as she came to stand in the doorway, his finger still tapping the lip of the cup.’
    • ‘Wrap pliable wire around the container below the lip to form a handle for hanging.’
    • ‘This vessel also has an evened rim and a rounded lip, and is burnished on both interior and exterior surfaces.’
    edge, rim, brim, margin, border, verge, brink
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A rounded, raised, or extended piece along an edge.
      ‘the cockpit is protected by a lip extending from the roof’
      • ‘She found a hidden place to tie her horse, and then followed him along the lip of the gorge.’
      • ‘Stumbling along the lip of this vast quarry, I noticed something else.’
      • ‘From the mooring buoy you swim along the lip of the bay edge at around 12m until the outline of the bow appears.’
      • ‘We adjusted the knot so that it rested just above the lip, thus extending our reach downward as far as possible.’
      • ‘He then noticed along the raised lip of the moat were a series of colored stones.’
      • ‘Slip out through the windows, slowly, very slowly, edging along the lip of the roof.’
      • ‘The front spoiler is designed with an additional stability-enhancing aerofoil running from its lower lip along the side of the car and up to the rear spoiler.’
      • ‘We slithered over a lip with the aid of ropes into a huge cavernous hollow, where the water was caught in a rockpool.’
      • ‘Walking down to them was like descending a ski-jump, but one with no lip at the end of it, just a pure drop like the one that James Bond skis over at the beginning of one of his films.’
      • ‘After five minutes, we decided to move along the lip.’
      edge, rim, brim, margin, border, verge, brink
      View synonyms
  • 3informal mass noun Insolent or impertinent talk.

    ‘don't give me any of your lip!’
    • ‘You know, I know that some men have problems with women who have a lot of lip, but I think I like them, don't you?’
    • ‘It looks like a celebrity judge might actually be getting involved, and she's not taking any lip.’
    • ‘Do what I say, no lip and give me my proper respect.’
    • ‘I think anyone who has to take lip from 14 or 15-year-old knowalls five days a week deserve that amount of time off.’
    • ‘Gunslinging went hand in hand with glamour as the Angels turned what was traditionally a man's world into a girl's one - with the aid of as much lip-gloss as lip.’
    • ‘Never the less, how do these ‘security officers’ get a gig if they can't take some lip?’
    • ‘Like most front-men, he had an ego that could swallow the battered planet, and didn't want any lip from the troops.’
    • ‘If your parents give you any lip, you can turn them in and get bonus respect points.’
    • ‘I am the only person in charge of this award, I will give it to anyone I want, and you better not give me any lip about it.’
    • ‘South Africans give people lip too, but they don't start crying when they get some, neither do they get violent.’
    • ‘I can take lip, attitude or grumbling, but ignorance is too much for me.’
    • ‘One disruptive child - and I don't just mean a child with lip - can frustrate the odd day's teaching.’
    • ‘The bloggers certainly weren't going to get much lip from me.’
    • ‘Later, Jesse overhears Ryan giving Leah another bit of lip.’
    • ‘The last thing I wanted was for a teacher to be giving me some lip.’
    insolence, impertinence, impudence, cheek, rudeness, audacity, effrontery, disrespect, presumptuousness, temerity, brazenness
    View synonyms

verblips, lipping, lipped

[with object]
  • 1(of water) lap against.

    ‘beaches lipped by the surf rimming the Pacific’
    • ‘This was just the start of our great adventure to some of the 1,185 islands that crowd the senses along Croatia's stunning coastline, lipping the crystal waters of the Adriatic Sea.’
    • ‘Strolling the soft golden sands lipping the Black Sea, I am cosseted by the thought I am shadowing the footsteps of Russia's finest…’
  • 2Golf
    (of the ball) hit the rim of (a hole) but fail to go in.

    ‘Norman's putt lipped the hole and spun out’
    • ‘However, he displayed admirable character in bouncing back to par both the 17th and 18th holes, almost pinching a birdie on the last when a ten-footer lipped the hole.’
    • ‘The first putt lipped out, and I just walked around and tapped it in from about a foot.’
    • ‘Could there have been a putt lipped out that could have made the difference?’
    • ‘But the ball lipped out of the cup on the 18th hole, meaning the Englishman's six points for his closing round ensured victory.’
    • ‘He nearly took an improbable half a point but his final putt lipped out.’


  • curl one's lip

    • Raise a corner of one's upper lip to show contempt; sneer.

      • ‘With another sneer curling his lip, he disappeared into thin air.’
      • ‘One friend curled her lip and told him bluntly that the Kelly story wasn't relevant to her.’
      • ‘I show it by curling my lip in blistering disdain.’
      • ‘I curled my lip in condescension and shut my door firmly.’
      • ‘I curled my lip in disgust but I don't think he saw it.’
      • ‘He curls his lip contemptuously, and gives me one of his looks.’
      • ‘He said: ‘When it came to picking the name, I went through a list of the usual type of boutique names and Angela just curled her lip.’’
      • ‘And the beat strode on, and crackled from mind to mind, snapping its fingers and curling its lip.’
      • ‘The man looked at him through battle-hardened hazel eyes, a sneer curling his lip.’
      • ‘You're going to curl your lip, look at me meaningfully, say you want to ‘talk’ - then postpone it for 24 hours?’’
      curl one's lip, smile disparagingly, smile contemptuously, smile smugly, smile conceitedly, smile cruelly, smile mirthlessly, smirk, snicker, snigger
      View synonyms
  • lick one's lips

    • Look forward to something with relish.

      • ‘When his bowl was emptied twice, he smacked his lips.’
      • ‘The news that he was injured must have had them smacking their lips in anticipation.’
      • ‘Then he grabs an apple and bites noisily into it, smacking his lips unselfconsciously as he demolishes it, blissfully unaware of how rude it will sound when the interview tape is played back later.’
      • ‘In bake houses across the city, chefs are busy whipping up their festive-best offers, even as cake-crazy customers are smacking their lips.’
      • ‘I was powerless to resist the allure of what tasted like a sucrose - laden cafe latte, smacking my lips constantly and worrying my teeth were caked in lipstick.’
      • ‘Growing up in London, where it is ubiquitous, I have long been a fan of the chain, and the news last week that it has finally crossed the border to arrive in Scotland has me smacking my lips in anticipation.’
      • ‘He turned to study his friend and smacked his lips.’
      • ‘It was so yummy that I didn't think twice about gathering all the crumbs off the bottom of the box with my wet finger tips then smacking my lips.’
      • ‘I smacked my lips, and handed her the drink and smiled uncontrollably.’
      • ‘Our dining companion, not one to shy away from rich food, unsurprisingly polished this off, smacking his lips and barely allowing us even a mouthful.’
  • pass one's lips

    • Be eaten, drunk, or spoken.

      ‘not a drop of alcohol had passed her lips’
      • ‘The explanation is that I was drunk, though given that I was driving I should add swiftly that not a drop of alcohol had passed my lips.’
      • ‘As darkness claims me I speak, barely conscious of the words passing my lips.’
      • ‘Not a drop of alcohol passed our lips last night which was cool after lapsing on Tuesday night following Debbie's tumble.’
      • ‘This one-time party animal has also sworn off the drink, with only the very occasional drop passing his lips in recent months.’
      • ‘If you restrict your calories, ban entire food groups from passing your lips or start and end each day by standing on your head and whistling ‘Flower of Scotland’, you'll probably shift some weight.’
      • ‘He started to speak but his words fell apart before they could pass his lips.’
      • ‘It's 7: 00 p.m., and for the first time for more than 16 hours, food and drink is passing their lips.’
      • ‘A drop of alcohol has not passed my lips tonight.’
      • ‘I have never met a woman who doesn't like chocolate but I've met many men who claim they can go for years without it even passing their lips.’
      • ‘Indeed, in a dozen years spent monitoring his progress first as shadow chancellor and then as head honcho at the Treasury I can't recall the words passing his lips.’
  • pay lip service to

    • Express approval of or support for (something) insincerely or without taking any significant action.

      ‘they pay lip service to equality but they don't want to do anything about it’
      • ‘A person's spiritual beliefs are the ones which they demonstrate in their choice of politics, reactions, steps - never mind what they pay lip service to.’
      • ‘I know everyone pays lip service to how much their house means to them when they're leaving, but this place really does have a special place in our hearts.’
      • ‘We've paid lip service to that ever since but we haven't taken it seriously.’
      • ‘Instead of paying lip service to cries for support, more assistance especially provision of facilities should occur for police to tackle crime effectively.’
      • ‘But it's not just something he pays lip service to - innovation has helped to transform his business.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, as demonstrated in this debate, the major parties have prevented members from voting for what they truly believe in, or at least pay lip service to.’
      • ‘Far smaller clubs in Europe have made more progress because they have reared and nurtured their own players, something the Old Firm have for too long paid lip service to.’
      • ‘These days, diversity belongs on the motherhood-and-apple-pie list of things everyone favors - or at least pays lip service to.’
      • ‘‘We can't afford to have them brushed under the carpet and just paid lip service to by politicians in all parties’, he added.’
      • ‘While both state and federal governments continue to pay lip service to supporting the public hospital system, they are speeding up the process of privatising health care.’


Old English lippa, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch lip and German Lippe, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin labia, labra ‘lips’.