Definition of nippy in English:



  • 1British Able to move quickly; nimble.

    ‘a very nippy scrum half’
    • ‘Darryl Callaghan found David Cantley and the nippy centre stepped off his right foot, found a gap, and burst into open space.’
    • ‘Two quick fire points from nippy wing forward Michael Browne Jnr tied the sides in the first five minutes of the second period.’
    • ‘Then nippy forward Julianne O'Connell struck with a great goal which clinched victory for her team and a place in the final.’
    • ‘After Barry Meehan crossed from the left the nippy striker fired past O'Hare - though the shot did take a deflection.’
    • ‘Clarecastle got the start they needed when nippy corner forward, Derek Quinn, pointed after just twenty seconds.’
    • ‘The nippy corner forward was involved in several movements that led to scores.’
    • ‘The nippy, adept forward's haul of six points, which included two superb second-half efforts, played a substantial part in the north Roscommon club's four-points victory.’
    • ‘Mayo got off to a poor start as in the opening minute of the game when Armagh corner forward John Garvan had the ball in the Mayo net as the Mayo full-back line were caught ball watching and allowed the nippy Armagh man in for a sweet finish.’
    • ‘In the replay the nippy corner forward was once again a vital cog in the Deise machine as they booked their place in their second successive Munster hurling decider against Cork.’
    • ‘His third arrived when nippy corner forward Andy Devine went down under a tackle in front of the goal.’
    • ‘The Meath attack always carried a threat to the home defence, the visitors mixing big, strong, mobile forwards with smaller, nippy score-takers.’
    • ‘At right full forward was the nippy Jimmy Doyle, a great man to take a score while full forward went to George Darcy, Conway Park, a great servant to the club as player and administrator.’
    • ‘But the attack will miss the goal poaching capabilities of nippy corner-forward Billy Sheehan.’
    • ‘The nippy corner-forward, scorer of his side's first point after 17 seconds, slammed the ball convincingly past St Mary's net-minder Nicky Walsh.’
    • ‘They did manage to lead 0-4 to 0-3 at the break with nippy wing forward Patrick Hickey getting a brace.’
    • ‘The nippy corner forward enjoyed the proverbial field day, his goal and five points from play being the icing on the cake.’
    • ‘The only goal came in the 75th minute when Seamus Gray released Joey Nolan and the nippy winger went through to score in style.’
    • ‘As early as the first minute, Donnie Brennan had the ball in the CBS net after Willie Murphy set up the nippy centre half forward for the score.’
    • ‘What they have now is maybe what they did not have traditionally they have very nippy forwards.’
    • ‘The nippy Australian was at the heart of Motherwell's best moves.’
    agile, lithe, sprightly, acrobatic, light-footed, nimble-footed, light, light on one's feet, fleet-footed, spry, lively, active, graceful, supple, limber, lissom, flexible, skilful, deft, dexterous, adroit
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    1. 1.1(of a motor vehicle) able to accelerate quickly.
      ‘the new Saab is very nippy and jolly safe when overtaking’
      • ‘But the second date required me to go to Monte Carlo, and tooling up the coast from Nice in the respectably nippy convertible Molloy had hired for me, it was hard not to feel part of a special club.’
      • ‘However, on observing the details of the car on the web, I discovered that the nippy little sports car had turned into a monster beast four-wheel drive.’
      • ‘On the road, this proved to be a particularly nippy car about town, pulling off from junctions with a sprightly performance.’
      • ‘Slotted into the Elise it turns the nippy, lightweight roadster into a car capable of delivering supercar levels of excitement.’
      • ‘That apart, this new Mini scores very impressively and if I were in the market for a car which is nippy in the city, yet very competent on longer country trips, it would top my list.’
      • ‘The 1.2-litre sounded confident when I tested it and was quite nippy around the small lanes.’
      • ‘It is a nice car to drive, nippy, and quite agile, and it would be fine as a second car or school-run car.’
      • ‘The Honda has been praised for being nippy and fun, while the Mazda Tribute has been criticised for being noisy and exhibiting a slight tendency to wallow.’
      • ‘This made for a unique handling experience - nippy without ever being fast, fun without ever being safe, stiff, rigid, brittle and staunch.’
      • ‘‘The car was actually quite nippy and responsive at times,’ he said.’
      • ‘It has been praised for being nippy and a real hoot through the corners.’
      • ‘It will be a pretty nippy big car too: target 0-62 mph is 9.9secs.’
      • ‘His Isetta, which means ‘little Iso’ after his company Iso SpA, had enough room for two occupants and provided nippy city motoring at up to 80 miles per gallon.’
      • ‘The 1.4i and 1.6i 16V both offered spirited performance although I actually preferred the nippy 1.4i which had plenty of torque and power.’
      • ‘The good news was the tram, all 40 metres of it, looked well, performed well and could well live up to its promise to be a modern, efficient, comfortable, nippy form of public transport in a car-strangled city.’
      • ‘We hitch a lift in a Lynx, the sports car of military helicopters: small, agile and nippy.’
      • ‘For a relatively nippy car, the fuel consumption is quite good, but don't try to squeeze any tall adults into the back.’
      • ‘It is not a car for long journeys, but it was nippy enough around town.’
      • ‘Around the city and the suburbs, where 30 mph and 40 mph speed limits rule, it is delightfully nippy and full of character.’
      • ‘The new Honda Jazz is smart, nippy, surprisingly roomy - and it's got an ashtray you can pull out and pass around’
      with good acceleration, fast, quick, brisk, lively
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  • 2(of the weather) chilly.

    ‘it's a bit nippy this morning’
    • ‘The air was a bit nippy, but not cold enough to bite at her skin.’
    • ‘My date's chauffeur had to wait for hours on an uncharacteristically nippy September night while we discussed the twin towers disaster.’
    • ‘Since Friday weather in many parts of the Nilgiris has become nippy on account of the South-West monsoon.’
    • ‘Still, the weather's turning nippy; the nights of sitting outside at lake houses and on porches have ended.’
    • ‘Where the morning had been cold and nippy, the sun had turned the air hot and arid from high in the sky where it beat down on the earth relentlessly.’
    • ‘At the poolside barbeque you can catch the lingering aroma of chargrilled kebabs in the nippy winter air.’
    • ‘Feeling the swift, nippy morning winds from inland against my scaly hide, I shivered and took a brief glance at the icicles which had formed on the roofs before turning my head back.’
    • ‘However, beware of painting outdoors when the weather turns nippy.’
    • ‘Perhaps the treasurer was unhappy at having to stand for the interview, or perhaps the night was a bit nippy and he had to shuffle around a bit.’
    • ‘The water was extremely nippy and when we got out the air seemed even colder.’
    • ‘The girl was outside at the time, watching it go down and feeling the air grow colder, nippy at first but soon so cold that it numbed the girl's fingers.’
    • ‘The air was nippy but not overly cold, but she had decided to stay in her car and wait for him.’
    • ‘Have a stash of soft drinks chilled and, if the weather's nippy, a mulled cider simmering in a slow-cooker.’
    • ‘With chilly winds caressing the cheeks and pullovers being pulled out of the closet to protect oneself from the nippy winds, December has a magic and charm all its own.’
    • ‘The wind is nippy but not unpleasant, but it's still cold for September.’
    • ‘That may sound a bit nippy, but any negative temperature is relative.’
    • ‘On summer nights it's great to sit outside and if it gets a bit nippy they light the gas heaters.’
    • ‘Truth is, when the weather is nippy and you need something warm and comforting, nothing beats meatloaf for taste.’
    • ‘Instead, a brisk outing in the briny climate of Leith was called for with a nippy wind whipping up the Forth.’
    • ‘I changed back into my normal clothes, and followed him outside into the nippy, early morning air.’
    • ‘Those little jewel cases come in mighty handy on nippy mornings.’
    cold, chilly, icy, bitter, raw
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  • 3Scottish Canadian (of food) sharp-tasting; tangy.

    ‘nippy Red Leicester’
    • ‘Adding to the flavour are a range of ingredients which include syrupy jaggery to tangy ginger, thin slivers of nippy lemon to long slices of luscious mango, besides assorted grams and pulses in dozens of tasty forms.’
    • ‘The eggs were just poached, the potatoes hollowed out and filled with three different oozing cheeses - a nippy cheddar, a soft goat and salty Roquefort, I'd guess.’


informal, historical
  • A waitress in any of the restaurants of J. Lyons & Co. Ltd in London from about 1920 to 1950.

    • ‘His waitresses were always impeccably turned out, originally nicknamed Gladys but rechristened Nippies in the 1920s.’