Main definitions of nick in English

: nick1nick2

nick1

noun

  • 1A small cut or notch:

    ‘a small nick on his wrist’
    • ‘The grips seem to be impervious to most chemicals found on a gun cleaning table and don't show the nicks and gouges of hard use like wood or other materials.’
    • ‘It may be blue-worn and carry a bountiful collection of nicks and scratches, because it hasn't spent much time in the dresser drawer.’
    • ‘Flippers, armpits, backs, and bellies are often covered with bites; some are large, open, and bleeding, but most are just small nicks and scrapes.’
    • ‘Anyway, this is probably Uncle Scrooge's most precious possession, even though it must have nicks, scratches and is probably very worn.’
    • ‘Like the old rifles, the rear sight bears a tiny nick of a sighting notch.’
    • ‘The picture suffers from numerous source defects, including many nicks and scratches, a generally dirty appearance, and discolored film elements.’
    • ‘The blade was in perfect condition, no nicks or dents.’
    • ‘Print wear and defects from the source materials are the biggest culprits here, with a fair amount of nicks and blemishes still remaining.’
    • ‘The prides came right out of the undergrowth and close enough to the vehicle for the researchers to observe the tiny nicks and scratches that help distinguish one animal from another.’
    • ‘It was marred with dozens of nicks and marks from fighting.’
    • ‘We have two tables with black slate tops polished smooth, except for a few nicks and chips perhaps 1/4 inch deep.’
    • ‘If there are any wires or struts for the tail, check them carefully for nicks and chips, and examine the ends, both the top and the bottom, for signs of rust or movement.’
    • ‘A fair number of nicks and scratches remain as well.’
    • ‘Most of the nicks, scuffs and gouges that currently mar the work are a result of human carelessness, such as carts and chairs banging into the walls.’
    • ‘There are few film defects such as nicks or blemishes to be seen.’
    • ‘Exposure to rain or hail can cause nicks and scratches that dramatically increase the craft's radar signature.’
    • ‘Handle silver with care to avoid nicks and heavy scratches; knife blades and other metals can do damage if they come in contact with silverware.’
    • ‘They did not see much of any damage, just a few nicks and scrapes on those shuttle tiles.’
    • ‘Even if those horns manage a gouge here or a nick there, a matador can always depend on antibiotics to stave off serious complications.’
    • ‘The buckles have a nice feel to them, and they're designed in such a way that the excess strap lies between the buckle, and the PC, thus preventing any nicks and scratches.’
    cut, scratch, abrasion, incision, snick, scrape
    View synonyms
  • 2the nickBritish informal Prison:

    ‘he'll end up in the nick for the rest of his life’
    • ‘And I'm not sure my friend realised that councils have many other ways of getting their council tax and some of them can have far-reaching effects that go beyond a short spell in the nick.’
    • ‘We'll go and put a picket round the 'ville while they're in the nick.’
    • ‘At the height of the demonstrations we were called up from our South London nick to support the Norfolk guys.’
    • ‘From the soaps we're joined by Kim Medcalf, EastEnders jailbird Sam Mitchell, who escapes Walford nick to perform a classic track.’
    • ‘Letters Bernie Ebbers shed a tear or two as he was sentenced to 25 years in the nick for his part in the financial disaster that was WorldCom.’
    • ‘I turned up a slightly cynical, badly-dressed student and left three days later, after a short spell in Southampton nick, as the blazing-eyed, still badly-dressed eco-bore I am today.’
    • ‘Big Mick left after several gigs to serve a few years in the nick, so we got in Metal Ing.’
    jail, penal institution, place of detention, lock-up, place of confinement, guardhouse, detention centre
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A police station:
      ‘he was being fingerprinted in the nick’
      • ‘In order to apply closure to the mayhem, a farmer, driven insane after the loss of his youngest son, arrives in the nick with assorted homemade weapons.’
      • ‘He ought to be retiring to the nick after all the dodgy warrants he signed for Inspector Fiend.’
      • ‘I'm Sergeant Peter Lees and this is PC Lee Peters from Westing nick.’
      • ‘Always in these movies the defendant looks cooked, until a last minute witness shows up at the nick, spurred on by ingenious detective work.’
      police station, station
      View synonyms
  • 3The junction between the floor and side walls in a squash court or real tennis court.

    • ‘The second semi final was a played at a furious pace with Victor Berg setting the tone of the game hitting the return of serve into the nick to win the first point.’
    • ‘Then, almost in echo of Beachill's earlier performance, he hit a forehand pickup from the nick into the tin.’
    • ‘Easdon would step in and punish with his volley, either for depth or occasionally guided crosscourt into the nick.’
    • ‘Ball was up to the challenge and used his low hard drives into the nick to end many rallies of his own.’
    • ‘The ball sails again and again into the corner, drawn to the nick as if on an invisible thread.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Make a nick or nicks in:

    ‘he had nicked himself while shaving’
    • ‘His mate said ‘it's just a graze - he only nicked you.’’
    • ‘Does that mean that Gillette will have to start making blunter razor blades so they will not be culpable if we nick ourselves shaving?’
    • ‘The warehouse windows - the ones that weren't already broken by vandals - exploded outward and a small piece of glass nicked Chris above the eye.’
    • ‘He then swung again in a downward, diagonal strike to the left, nicking the man in the left shoulder.’
    • ‘He let himself be pressed back toward the door, barely blocking one blow after another, until finally the knight's sword nicked him in the side.’
    • ‘They held their knives in our faces and I was nicked by one just to the left of my left eye.’
    • ‘Remove the pan from the oven, take off the lid and gently split the bird's legs away from its body, nicking the skin with a knife as you go.’
    • ‘Instead, Pristine barely dodges it and the sword only nicks her as it comes in between her neck and the strap of her bag, which contains the Crystal of Life.’
    • ‘A bio weapon delivery system could be your next-door neighbor, or the mosquito that nicked you before dinner.’
    • ‘She holds out a crossbow, ‘Don't try anything funny, this arrow is poisoned tipped, if it even nicks you, you will die in a matter of minutes.’’
    • ‘The fake bills might even be nicked or slightly torn.’
    • ‘Readers recall an old friend here or there who nicked himself/herself with a razor blade 10, 15, or 20 years ago.’
    • ‘He had felt the hot sting as the bullet grazed it, and another sting as a piece of broken glass nicked him on the cheek, but paid no attention to the blood as it ran down his face and arm and soaked his clothes.’
    • ‘It appears he was nicked while being cut and it got infected - very badly.’
    • ‘This round though, Clay was more composed as he glided out of the way and began to pump the left jab with enough accuracy to have Cooper nicked by Cooper's right eye.’
    • ‘They were small cuts on her shoulder from when she was training with her brother, he nicked her with his sword, she had forgotten about them until now.’
    • ‘And that was ok too, because, who didn't, every once in a while, nick themselves shaving?’
    • ‘And if he nicked you bad enough to bleed, he'd dab a bit of toilet paper on his tongue and stick it to the wound!’
    • ‘If the epidural needle nicks the covering of the spinal cord, there may be a small leak of fluid from around the cord, which can cause a headache when you sit or stand up.’
    • ‘In fact it's a function of rapid blood loss and consequent loss of consciousness, which in turn depends on optimal wound-channel volume and bullet fragmentation - both of which tend to favour nicking a major blood vessel.’
    cut, scratch, abrade, incise, snick, scrape
    View synonyms
  • 2British informal Steal:

    ‘she nicked fivers from the till’
    • ‘Last year, 10,000 mobiles were stolen and two-thirds of those were nicked or robbed from kids.’
    • ‘I feel almost like a tourist - that's why I'm always nicking things from places we go, souvenirs.’
    • ‘Michael Azzerad nicked the title of his recent book about the American '80s music underground, Our Band Could Be Your Life, from a minutemen song.’
    • ‘Apologies to Tim D for nicking his post title.’
    • ‘Curtain-twitching old grannies call the cops when they see someone nicking your car.’
    • ‘Do you go up to a victim of theft, nick their watch then get annoyed when they get slightly defensive?’
    • ‘After about four and a half hours of crab ruining my efforts by nicking my bait, I was starting to get a bit anxious as the tide was coming in.’
    • ‘We first see the hero, Jamie, as a violent 18-year-old Gravesend thug who, having nicked a car, runs off with 15-year-old Lynsey.’
    • ‘Although it claims it is impossible to say exactly how many mobile phones are being nicked it estimates that 700,000 were stolen last year.’
    • ‘In January a Government funded report found that 700,000 phones were nicked last year sparking a crime wave of theft and violence.’
    • ‘The producers then said they wanted all of us out (we were in a house, Big Brother style) and I nicked all of the jewellery they'd given me to wear/promote while I was in the house.’
    • ‘I have no desire to read this book, but if I did, I would definitely nick it, or get one of the local thieves to nick it to order.’
    • ‘It'll mean that if a fraudster nicks your credit or debit card, it'll be useless practising the signature on it as he'll need to read your mind for the PIN to get anywhere with it.’
    • ‘A top Navy Officer was hauled before a court martial yesterday after a laptop packed with military secrets was nicked from his car.’
    • ‘By nicking nectar and pollen from the native species they deny those insects the opportunity to perform the function of pollination and as a result some plants do not set seed.’
    • ‘The Liverpool supporter, it was announced, couldn't make it because his car had been nicked.’
    • ‘Rather than nicking your car stereo, the thief of 2020 will be after your whole digital persona.’
    • ‘And it also raises questions about where Reid gets his story ideas - like all good editors, he nicks many of them from where he can find them.’
    • ‘With my children in tow, all that ringing doorbells and running away, all that stuffing tennis balls up car exhaust pipes and nicking traffic cones to furnish my bedroom had to end.’
    • ‘She didn't have any money stolen, it was only her identity that was nicked - and apparently that's not a crime.’
    1. 2.1nick someone forNorth American Cheat someone of (a sum of money):
      ‘banks will be nicked for an extra $40 million’
      • ‘They nicked me for eight grand for a fourteen-month course.’
      • ‘They nicked me for about $10 when they cashed my check two days before the due date and didn't post it till two days after.’
  • 3British informal Arrest (someone):

    ‘Stuart and Dan got nicked for burglary’
    • ‘So clearly, even under the grotesquely inadequate laws of 2003, the police do not seem to have been significantly impeded in their ability to spot-check ID and nick people.’
    • ‘The officers' racism had some impact on the way that they did their job - one said that he had nicked an Asian man for a traffic offence, but had let off a white woman who had committed the same offence.’
    • ‘I would have nicked him too but there was no room in the police car.’
    • ‘You're nicked: A prisoner's eye view of the custody suit to mark the change in the way offenders are charged.’
    • ‘Surely the notoriously humourless Singapore police would nick us all, cane us publicly - our bare, welted bottoms would be splattered all over the Sun…’
    • ‘He was nicked after one of the shop attendants recognised his voice.’
    • ‘But he'd just been nicked for ‘recklessly discharging a firearm’ - surely he'd be inside?’
    • ‘Anyone who continued to use the site in search of illegal images, despite repeated warnings, was nicked.’
    apprehend, take into custody, seize, take in, take prisoner, detain, put in jail, throw in jail
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • in —— nick

    • informal In a specified condition:

      ‘you've kept the car in good nick’
      • ‘I don't mind the nickname - it's quite flattering - but it does mean that I've become more conscious of the need to keep my legs in reasonable nick than I might otherwise have been.’
      • ‘I have not scored too many runs for Yorkshire this season but I feel in good nick and once my bowling is back to full speed I am confident I will soon be at my best again.’
      • ‘We have been making good use of our latest recruit, who is in good nick.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I'm still not in bad nick and think I can play for another two years.’’
      • ‘What this does for preservation is anyone's guess - though everything appears to be in excellent nick - but it does let you get an amazing feel of the place.’
      • ‘At 58, I'm not in bad nick and I can vouch for the beneficial effects of HRT, but having stopped taking it, time has caught up with my skin and gravity has done the rest.’
      • ‘I looked at matches where we seemed to ease off when we had the opportunity to win, or recalled times where batsmen and bowlers played inexplicably badly when you thought they were in prime nick.’
      • ‘After a three-week lay off, during which this admirably pleasant man shot the breeze at his third home in Wentworth, taking in cricket at Lord's and tennis at Wimbledon, Els is in decent nick for a serious tilt at the St Andrews Open this week.’
      • ‘They have all turned up in good nick, and on the track they have all had better times than last year.’
      • ‘Just because it is a sweltering day doesn't mean that you should buy warm weather clothes - there are bargains to be snapped up every day and if you spot a genuine Burberry mac for a fiver or a suede coat in good nick, buy it whatever the weather.’
      condition, repair, shape, state, state of health, order, working order, form, fettle, trim
      View synonyms
  • in the nick of time

    • Only just in time:

      ‘the rescue came in the nick of time’
      • ‘Riding bicycles, Hank's agents rescue Arthur and Hank in the nick of time.’
      • ‘Then, just in the nick of time, I read this… and swiftly reconsidered.’
      • ‘I was, though, lucky enough to get into a National Guard unit in the nick of time, about a day before I was drafted.’
      • ‘The upshot is that the error was fixed, in the nick of time.’
      • ‘It wasn't a particularly tricky job, the spare part didn't have to be imported from Outer Mongolia and you weren't extremely lucky he caught it in the nick of time.’
      • ‘Roland, meanwhile, lands in the nick of time to beat the enemy Saracen Sarwegur and save the city and all of France.’
      • ‘The highwayman has been portrayed in films and books as a flamboyant and handsome figure, forever escaping in the nick of time on his trusty steed Black Bess.’
      • ‘Devon noted the truck stopped just in the nick of time too.’
      • ‘Looking back, I think it happened just in the nick of time.’
      • ‘Conveniently, there were other people around, and I was rescued in the nick of time.’
      just in time, not a moment too soon, almost too late, at the critical moment
      under the wire
      in the godspeed, in the very nick
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

nick

/nɪk/

Main definitions of nick in English

: nick1nick2

nick2

verb

[NO OBJECT]Australian, NZ
informal
  • 1 Go quickly or surreptitiously:

    ‘they nicked across the road’
    • ‘Entertainment is essential, as this will stop the gamblers in our midst from nicking out every half-an-hour to the bookies next door to bet on every dog and horse race available.’
    • ‘Sometimes I feel like nicking out of the office.’
    • ‘Some were even able to nick up the road to one of the two nearby pubs with few objections unless they returned drunk.’
    1. 1.1nick off Depart; go away:
      ‘I got up and got dressed and nicked off’
      • ‘So are we just here in a mid-point in our earthly lives, trying to attain that all-elusive state of grace so we can happily nick off to Nirvana, or are we here and now and gone tomorrow?’
      • ‘Paris falls in love with Menolaus's wife Helen and she nicks off with them back to Troy.’
      • ‘Janet nicked off on a one-way flight to Australia, letting her family know where she was one week later.’
      • ‘We nicked off to Melbourne for the weekend and it was fantastic.’
      • ‘Anyway, bails and I went along, had a couple of glasses of free champagne and nicked off just before the speeches started.’
      • ‘I was expelled and I had to go to another school; I didn't want to go through all the ‘fitting in stages’ again so I started nicking off and this is when I started to go off the rails.’
      • ‘She nicked off at midday feeling mildly exhilarated and trying to ignore the guilt nibbling away at her stomach.’
      • ‘He and Esther nicked off before I could get changed and say hi, too.’
      • ‘So Janae has told Janelle that Karl has abused her, and then she's nicked off back to Colac while Karl faces the Spanish Inquisition.’
      • ‘I used to nick off at dinner hour and any spare time to have a chat with the people who were doing the chimneys.’
      • ‘I'm going to have to nick off now and do a bit more running about like a headless chicken.’
      • ‘She would have given it a decent burial only the neighbours dog nicked off with the carcass before she could get to it.’
      • ‘He just nicks off to have these Secret Sleeps every now and then.’
      • ‘The webcam's still offline, but that's because my dad nicked off with it (across the corridor)!’
      • ‘The final sentence went something like, ‘So she quit her job and nicked off to Russia.’’
      • ‘If you want to nick off, you know where to find me OK?’
      • ‘Around 120 young traceurs, from at least five different time-zones nicked off with their parent's air-miles and hopped on the next plane to London (many kipping on floors) solely to meet and train with the master: Sebastien Foucan.’
      • ‘They urge people to take a sickie or nick off from school to celebrate the disobedience of orders.’

Phrases

  • get nicked

    • informal [often in imperative]Go away (used as an expression of anger or impatience):

      ‘all these guys who want everything located in Sydney and Melbourne can get nicked’
      • ‘He ought to tell this bloke to go and get nicked.’
      • ‘They can all get nicked. They can't sue me, they can't threaten me, they can't do anything.’
      • ‘They told us to go and get nicked the other day.’
      • ‘Consumers can get nicked; the company, shareholders, and managers are all committed to achieving a 'flat playing field' and not to the consumer interest.’
      • ‘Residents might use their democratic right to tell their local councillors, quite rightly, to stop wasting their money and go and get nicked.’

Origin

Late 19th century: probably a figurative use of nick in the sense ‘to steal’.

Pronunciation

nick

/nɪk/