Main definitions of nip in English

: nip1nip2

nip1

verb

  • 1[with object] Bite or pinch sharply:

    ‘one of the dogs nipped him on the leg’
    [no object] ‘his teeth nipped at her ear’
    • ‘The gull waited until she had come close enough, and then nipped at her fingers.’
    • ‘He nipped gently at my ear, then took off, vanishing into the starlit sky.’
    • ‘I'd arrange for visitors over that weekend, and if he nipped at a visitor, I would make sure he understood I was very displeased.’
    • ‘I bared my teeth and nipped at his finger.’
    • ‘His pet struggled in his grasp, nipping angrily at fingers.’
    • ‘The hyenas nipped at his bandaged arm, trying to rile him up.’
    • ‘The dogs nipped at her heels, the silver dusk rose up as her feet sped on.’
    • ‘A crab had nipped at my toe but it hadn't taken the whole thing off.’
    • ‘I picked Fidget up and he nipped at me but I ignored that.’
    • ‘As I moved within her, Mina nipped at my ear, mewling softly.’
    • ‘He nipped playfully at my ear, as he got the last of the blood off of my gleaning coat.’
    • ‘My son bites me when he's angry, he nips me when I wake up too slowly - at this point there aren't many times he won't bite me.’
    • ‘He saw his rescuer standing just a few feet away from him a small dog nipping at her heels.’
    • ‘Thundering Glory seemed to know what was wrong, because he nickered and nipped at the bottom of my shirt.’
    • ‘The two enjoyed several awkward moments of guy-ness on opposite sides of the living room, while Shadow nipped at them both.’
    • ‘They added he is low maintenance, but if he's upset he will hiss or nip at fingers.’
    • ‘They chase off clownfish that don't fit into the hierarchy and many scuba divers tell anecdotes of being nipped at if they venture too close.’
    • ‘My dog recently bit / nipped me, should I be worried about rabies?’
    • ‘Alpha dogs nip subordinates under the chin as corrections.’
    bite, nibble, peck, pinch, tweak, squeeze, grip
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of the cold or frost) damage or hurt:
      ‘the vegetable garden, nipped now by frost’
      • ‘Jake quickly crossed the street in front of the small run-down 7-11 on Main Street and ran in before the cold air had the chance to nip at his nose.’
      • ‘Havelock North topped the list with a 6-degree freeze, while Dannevirke was nipped by a 5.2-degree frost.’
      • ‘I want to run into the surf and away again screaming as the waves coldly nip at my ankles.’
      • ‘Groaning, I could only squirm as more winds of biting cold nipped at my body.’
      • ‘But they did and because the weather has been mild, Jane hasn't had to worry about new leaves being nipped by late frosts.’
      • ‘She threw off her covers with much protest as the chilly California winter breeze nipped at her skin and tempted her to crawl back into her warm comforters and sleep the day away.’
      • ‘What has happened to Sheila's tree every year is that it has been nipped by a late frost.’
      • ‘Winter is here, temperatures are dropping, and whether you like it or not, Jack Frost will soon be nipping not only your nose, but the rest of your body as well!’
      • ‘The cold winds were nipping at him badly, but Peter did not care.’
      • ‘When the first heavy frost of the fall nips the local golf course I am out there trying to make ski tracks.’
      • ‘It was so cold that the frost nipped at your nose while wrapped in a scarf.’
      • ‘Elaine shivered as the winter winds nipped at her nose, hair rising on the back of her neck.’
      • ‘The cold air nipped at my delicate skin, making me shiver.’
      • ‘The bitter wind rustled the leaves and nipped at her fragile bones.’
    2. 1.2nip something off Remove something by pinching or squeezing sharply:
      ‘he nipped off a length of wire with the cutters’
      • ‘We have infestations at different times of things like Spider Crabs and Spider Crabs are very fond of nipping the ends off the arms and sucking the gonads out from inside.’
      • ‘The one thing to remember is not to eat the head, so the grub is held by that end and the remainder is nipped off.’
      • ‘Tree seedlings, wildflowers, and shrubs were nipped off as soon as they germinated.’
      • ‘The patient observer may see it trying to nip feeding arms off unfortunate barnacles.’
      • ‘They'll be powdered over and I won't be able to nip them off as conveniently as now.’
      cut off, trim, clip, prune, hack off, chop off, saw off, dock, crop, sever, separate, detach, remove, take off
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  • 2British informal [no object, with adverbial of direction] Go quickly:

    ‘I'm just nipping down to the Post Office’
    • ‘As I couldn't see them I decided I would quickly nip to the loo to touch up my make up, try to do something with my hair and… well you know.’
    • ‘One can no longer nip into town to pay a two-minute visit to the bank without having to pay a minimum of 70p for the privilege.’
    • ‘At that point Harry Cat decided to make a dash for freedom and nipped between our legs like a little bit of furry lightning.’
    • ‘However, it lacks one thing - the ability to nip on and off between bus stops.’
    • ‘You might then want to nip quickly outside to see how the people of Leystonstone see the mosaics from various entrances.’
    • ‘I stayed about an hour just enjoying the activity, then nipped back to the car park between showers.’
    • ‘I was nipping off to the loo to inject myself during surgery.’
    • ‘Having rushed around all day, we nipped out for a takeaway, mixed kebab meat, sausage and chips with garlic mayo and it was delicious.’
    • ‘So I nipped into the museum and after a quick look round, high tailed out the back door and found a bus.’
    • ‘Bo managed to get past the bar without succumbing to nipping quickly through it's heavy wood doors.’
    • ‘I quickly nip back in my room to put on my sneakers when the Scottish roommate informs me that the girlfriend has locked herself in his room.’
    • ‘What if it has been left there by someone who's nipped to the loo?’
    • ‘He's just nipped out to the shops with his dad.’
    • ‘He can't nip off to the pub without someone demolishing first his house and then his planet.’
    • ‘While Will and the others are buying their first drink, I nip to the loo.’
    • ‘And so, sensitive observers were suddenly noticing the ambulances nipping through the traffic, presumably rushing to deal with the latest sighting of SARS.’
    • ‘You might conceivably nip out to the concessions stand, visit the loo and still come back to the same scene.’
    • ‘So, I nipped out to the shops again and bought myself a Dyson.’
    • ‘I had to nip over to the nursery and drop the company car back, but no trains were running, so I had to take a bus.’
    • ‘There doesn't seem to be much on TV this evening so I may nip into town and see Millions.’
    go, rush, dash, dart, hurry, scurry, scamper
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  • 3US informal [with object] Steal or snatch (something).

    • ‘Ever nipped a spoon or a napkin from a restaurant?’

noun

  • 1A sharp bite or pinch:

    ‘a strong beak which can deliver a serious nip’
    • ‘She sighed and looked on dreamily, before receiving a sharp nip on the ear.’
    • ‘Herding the neighborhood kids and giving an occasional light nip to a rear end or ankle might seem like a funny game in the beginning.’
    • ‘I am also fairly concerned about running into one of these little bastards, who look as if they give a nasty nip.’
    • ‘He gave me a nasty nip to the ear and I leaped away.’
    • ‘Before I walk away I take a quick nip at his ear.’
    • ‘Sora bit his lip as he felt the sharp nip set his nerves a ringing.’
    • ‘Our largest native flying bird can deliver a nasty nip and the males know no fear when it comes to the defence of their mates and nestlings.’
    • ‘Of which one comment stuck in my mind, this was that as soon as a fox was caught above ground, the top dog out of the pack would administer a sharp nip to the foxes neck, killing it outright.’
    • ‘He's got me twice now and a young woman who passed me on Sunday afternoon told me that only a fortuitously placed handbag had spared her an embarrassing and painful nip.’
    • ‘He continued to suck my throat and after he gave me one last nip on my shoulder, he straightened out.’
    • ‘He remained, wallet intact, unharmed by so much as a single scratch or nip.’
    • ‘I jumped suddenly as I felt a sharp nip given to my shoulder.’
    • ‘His fair hand made a gesture to touch the dog's face but was rewarded by a painful nip from her sharp fangs.’
    bite, nibble, peck, pinch, tweak, squeeze, grip
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A feeling of biting cold:
      ‘a keen nip in the air’
      • ‘And later still, when I ambled with Faraday around the estates, listening to the sweet tweet of the birds and the occasional joy-rider, there was no nip in the air.’
      • ‘Fall arrived almost exactly on cue last week, the temperature suddenly cooling so that New Yorkers awoke the morning after Labour Day to a slight nip in the air, and a distinct sense of seasonal change.’
      • ‘With a nip in the air and holiday's on the doorstep, customers often like nothing better than warming their hands and their insides with a hot drink.’
      • ‘With winter coming on, a nip of whiskey helps keep you from feeling the nip of the cold.’
      • ‘Probably the best time to visit is spring or autumn when the sharp nip in the air is still a welcome novelty and makes sight-seeing on foot more pleasant.’
      • ‘There's a nip in the air, but, it's nice to have the sun back and no clouds in the sky after a pretty miserable few days’
      • ‘There seems to be a slight nip in the air.’
      • ‘There is a nip in the air and a chill in the bone.’
      • ‘She barely noticed the season's first nip of cold on her cheeks as she strode confidently through the dark streets, lit with nothing but the scarce streetlights.’
      • ‘Right on schedule, there's a bracing nip in the air these days, and the Montreal live-music scene is shaking off its end-of-summer sluggishness.’
      • ‘With summer drawn to a close and a definite feeling of that autumn nip in the air, one can't help but miss the lazy, hazy days of July and August.’
      • ‘She came into the barn from the field, her face flush with the nip of the cold.’
      • ‘The nip in the air tells us that summer is drawing to a close and autumn is getting ready make its entrance.’
      • ‘Winter is round the corner and there is a nip in the morning air.’
      • ‘Your garden - like ours - can weather autumn's nightly nip in the air and can even breeze through those first fleeting frosts.’
      • ‘Sometimes fall is just glimpsed from behind a car window; it's cold and wet, and while the colors are nice the nip in the air feels like a chain around your neck yanking you towards winter.’
      • ‘A sharpening nip to the wind made me look south, where a familiar pearling of the sky and darkening of sea showed that the ferryman's prophecy was set to come true.’
      • ‘But every morning now there is a sharp nip in the air, and at night you need to wrap up.’
      • ‘See how I have swapped from cold white wine to red now that there is a nip in the air.’
      • ‘The air was that perfect refreshing nip of cold, just enough to tint the cheeks pink, and the topaz sky was cloudless and cheery, even in the late morning.’

Phrases

  • in the nip

    • informal In the nude; naked:

      ‘they were running round in the nip’
      • ‘They're in calendars naked and when they're not photographed sitting on the back of quad bikes in the nip then they're posing around in Gucci and Armani and Hugo Boss.’
      • ‘The Killorglin-based Gulliver company was contacted by potential holidaymakers who are interested in discarding their clothes and taking a dip in the nip in places like Rossbeigh, Inch or Ballybunion.’
      • ‘When he said there's a woman who sometimes walks about in the nip in the flats across the way, Leanne instantly commandeered his set and wouldn't let anybody else get a look in, not for hell or high water.’
      • ‘If you see a muscle-bound Austrian man wandering around in the nip, assume he knows what he's doing and just run.’
      • ‘It climaxed with two guys standing gyrating on the stage in the nip.’
      • ‘Hayley admits to Kim that she is attracted to him - catching him in the nip at the Beach House sorted that out - but she's not sure if she's ready to make that step.’
  • nip something in the bud

    • Suppress or destroy something at an early stage:

      ‘the idea has been nipped in the bud by the local council’
      • ‘If customers are to feel confident about patronising those places they need to know that any trouble will be nipped in the bud.’
      • ‘I want to nip it in the bud at an early age and make them realise what pain it causes not just the victims but their families as well.’
      • ‘And I predict, unless this ghastly trend is nipped in the bud, big time political consultants will be forced to report that when stuff goes bad, taxpayers actually prefer someone to take responsibility and request forgiveness.’
      • ‘Fear of revealing ideas early was also cited as a cause of delay, as the potential users do not get a chance to nip bad ideas in the bud early in the design phase.’
      • ‘Apparently there have even been discussions of this being tapped as a renewable energy source, but those darn lobbyists soon nipped that idea in the bud.’
      • ‘It's about identifying problems early and nipping them in the bud.’
      • ‘I hope this thing is nipped in the bud and does not happen to any other councillor.’
      • ‘Some attempted thefts by insiders were nipped in the bud, others beat the security and accounting systems, but were caught trying to sell the material.’
      • ‘But moves to regulate the market at this stage could have presumably nipped incipient problems in the bud.’
      • ‘Fortunately, though through no action of yourself, the plot was nipped in the bud.’
      curtail, cut short, strangle at birth, check, cut off, thwart, beat, frustrate, curb, stop, halt, arrest, stifle, obstruct, impede, block, squash, quash, subdue, quell, crack down on, stamp out
      squelch, put the kibosh on, clobber
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: probably of Low German or Dutch origin.

Pronunciation

nip

/nɪp/

Main definitions of nip in English

: nip1nip2

nip2

noun

  • A small quantity or sip of spirits:

    ‘a nip of brandy’
    • ‘What I do miss are the few glasses of red in the evening, the odd pint out in the pub with the lads, or a hot chocolate with a nip of rum in it before bed.’
    • ‘There, that should make memorable the deeper lesson of the wedding at Cana: Be tolerant of those who take a nip from time to time.’
    • ‘One young lady advised a nip of Cointreau liqueur just prior to starting as it coated the throat and calmed her nerves.’
    • ‘To honor the festival's origins, locals concoct fiery brews, which they carry in flasks for warming nips.’
    • ‘Keith used to get up quite early, long before Jan, and have a couple of cups of tea with a nip of rum in them.’
    • ‘It gives the LP editor no pleasure to report that staff had taken to sneaking nips of Jameson from the prize and then, as if such larceny were not bad enough, topping up the bottle with water.’
    • ‘With every handshake my glass was topped up with a nip of whisky and by 1am I was feeling rather wobbly.’
    • ‘British soldiers campaigning in the Low Countries in the 16th century were so impressed by the effects of a nip of genever as to coin the expression ‘Dutch courage’.’
    • ‘We jovially washed down the meal with a few nips of Irish Cream.’
    • ‘Visitors won't be able to fend off the chill with a nip from a flask - you can't drink in public - although hospitality suites serve free alcohol.’
    • ‘For a squeamish diary writer it was enough to send me to the editor's well-stocked drinks cabinet for a nip of his favourite barley wine.’
    • ‘We finished the meal with some of Brian's brewed coffee and a couple of nips of whisky each.’
    • ‘To finish off the day we each had two small nips of Drambuie.’
    • ‘However I only drank very rarely and as such wasn't used to more than the occasional nip.’
    • ‘The first few nights Mom slipped me half a Vicodin and a nip of Benedictine brandy.’
    • ‘For Heaven's sake, have a nip of whiskey.’
    • ‘But even with the comfort of a fully underwritten share offer, Allan would be forgiven for reaching for a nip of Armenian brandy himself in the next few days.’
    • ‘Ray wanted to explain that a quick nip after breakfast and before lunch made the mind-numbing labor of sticking letters in their appropriate boxes go by a little smoother.’
    • ‘Coax her into splashing just a nip of Bailey's into your coffee (it'll look like cream) or maybe just a sip of Absolut into your Evian bottle.’
    • ‘Try a nip of Nelson's Blood, a specially blended spirit.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Take a sip or sips of spirits:

    ‘the men nipped from the bottle’
    • ‘He had obviously been on the plane from a previous leg, nipping at those little bottles of Jack Daniel's.’

Origin

Late 18th century (originally denoting a half-pint of ale): probably an abbreviation of the rare term nipperkin ‘small measure’; compare with Low German and Dutch nippen to sip.

Pronunciation

nip

/nɪp/

Main definitions of nip in English

: nip1nip2

Nip

noun

informal, offensive
  • A Japanese person.

Origin

1940s: abbreviation of Nipponese.

Pronunciation

Nip

/nɪp/