One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small hard seed in a fruit.
seed, stone, pitView synonyms
- ‘However, weather can trick the plant, meaning sugar levels can indicate ripeness while the pip of the grape remains hard or green.’
- ‘Sometimes, time chews up your memories and spits them out like grape pips.’
- ‘For a more modest production run, take one pint of double cream and grate the rind of two lemons into it, plus the pips.’
- ‘You can propagate by division, from proliferations or pips, or from seed.’
- ‘It has hard flesh and many pips and is too sour and astringent to eat raw; but it has a delicious fragrance and when cooked with adequate sweetening develops a fine flavour and turns pink.’
- ‘Our grandchildren planted some Braeburn apple pips and they have all grown.’
- ‘Some foods, especially fruit skins and pips can swell in the gut causing blockages.’
- ‘Cut each passionfruit in half and scoop out the pips and pulp with a small spoon into a sieve set over a bowl.’
- ‘At first I think the firemen were a bit bewildered but after 20 minutes or so on their hands and knees they were finding seed pips.’
- ‘I quite like oranges, but the pips spoil them, and peeling them is hard work.’
- ‘Some winemakers go so far as to crush the pips of the grapes in order to extract as much bitter tannin as possible.’
- ‘They can be blocked by phenolic compounds, which are already known to be found in the pips and skin of grapes.’
- ‘Let the oranges cool then cut into quarters, remove pips and any hard stalk.’
- ‘We both have grapefruit pip stories from our childhood, but in Joanna's case the pips grew into trees for 35 years without producing a flower or fruit!’
- ‘This machine breaks the skins of the grapes but doesn't press them, and removes all stalks and some of the pips.’
- ‘And it's really good - heavy on the lemons and probably a little heavy on the pips too but it tastes great.’
- ‘Place the fruit, rind and pips in a large bowl and cover with cold water.’
- ‘That explains why all the fruit has nasty pips in it.’
- ‘Strain the liquid off carefully through muslin making sure that no pips or pulp get through.’
- ‘The daughter puts some raisins in the mother's mouth after removing their pips.’
2South African The stone of soft fruits such as peaches and plums.
- ‘Another item that caught my eye concerned a pupil at the first DLS school in King William's Town, Joe Mullen, who swallowed a plum pip in 1905 which stuck in his windpipe.’
- 2.1US informal An excellent or very attractive person or thing.‘it's a pip of a story’
squeeze someone until the pips squeak
informal Extract the maximum amount of money from someone.
- ‘The arguments are solidly made, and Microsoft's lawyers squeeze the juice out of their case until you can hear the pips squeaking: but in the end, there's just not enough juice.’
- ‘A moment that signalled that the middle market had been squeezed so dry the pips had begun to squeak.’
- ‘And at the same time it would create a nice comfortable monopoly on waste disposal all the better for jacking up fees and squeezing rate payers till the pips squeak.’
- ‘The owners of some 660 horses face a frustrating and expensive new year because Horse Racing Ireland is going to squeeze them until the pips squeak.’
- ‘So he and his coalition partners found that when they said, ‘We'll make the Hun pay ’, and the famous phrase, ‘We'll squeeze them until the pips squeak,’ that went over a lot better.’
- ‘Popular pressure in Britain and France encouraged the peacemakers to squeeze the German lemon until the pips squeak, a line most vigorously pursued by the French premier, Georges Clemenceau.’
- ‘Finally, here are Gartner's recommendations to squeeze your networking equipment supplier until its pips squeak.’
- ‘The Left are still wedded to silly ideas about squeezing the rich till the pips squeak.’
- ‘As we reveal today, Labour is planning a dramatic rebanding of council tax which would squeeze middle-class households until the pips squeak.’
Late Middle English (denoting a variety of apple): abbreviation of pippin (the current sense dates from the late 18th century).
1British A star (one to three according to rank) on the shoulder of an army officer's uniform.
- ‘The other man was solidly built, and dressed in a black uniform, two golden pips on each shoulder, and with his hands gloved in a similar black.’
- ‘Personnel were walking every which way behind the command station, which held a beautiful, buxom blonde wearing captain's pips.’
- ‘I noticed that all-important pip on his shoulder.’
- ‘I did not even have time to get out of the door before a man in a white shirt full of shoulder pips and a stern look on his face appeared to warn me off taking action.’
- ‘He was in full dress uniform, black with golden pips and a red beret.’
- ‘She found herself with captain's pips on her collar at the tender age of eighteen.’
2Any of the spots on a playing card, dice, or domino.
- ‘Most of the pip card are worth their face value, which is added to the value of the pile.’
- ‘Any combination of cards adding up to 15 pips scores 2 points.’
- ‘Each player gets the total number of pips left in his hand.’
- ‘To score, the pip value of each card in a row, column or diagonal is summed.’
- ‘For purpose the picture cards count 12 and 11 and the pip cards have their face value.’
- ‘In the diagram, the match has just ended because E & W have 12 pips.’
- ‘At the end of the hand, each player gets the total number of pips in his hands.’
- ‘Remember that an exposed double scores the total of its pips.’
- ‘If the game is blocked, the partnership with the smallest total of pips on their tiles gets one point for the round.’
- ‘All previous decks had shown pips like a normal pack of playing cards.’
- ‘Some players count the pip cards 2 to 9 as all worth 5 points.’
- ‘The number of pips showing on the ten are the units digit of the score, and the total number of pips showing on the Jack and Queen (which may be face up or face down) are the tens digit.’
- ‘They include a bizarre grand piano, not only reconstructed by Philip Webb but in addition decorated by Kate Faulkner with playing-card pips, mottoes and whorls of gilt gesso-work.’
- ‘Joker can't be used, and deuce can only be used as pip value.’
- ‘Each domino with 10 pips - - is worth 10 points to the side that wins it in their tricks.’
- ‘The total pips revealed denotes the team's score.’
- ‘Numeral cards have roman numbers and can also be recognised by counting the pips.’
- ‘In both cases, the players who did not domino score the total of the pips on the tiles left in their hand.’
- ‘The cards are arranged on the table so that the number of pips showing shows the team's current score.’
- ‘Joker has no value at the finish, and deuce has only pip value.’
3An image of an object on a radar screen.
- ‘In the HEADING-UPWARD display, the target pips are painted at their measured distances in direction relative to own ship's heading.’
Late 16th century (originally peep, denoting each of the dots on playing cards, dice, and dominoes): of unknown origin.
nounPlural pipsusually the pips
A short high-pitched sound used especially to indicate the time on the radio or to instruct a caller using a public telephone to insert more money.
- ‘We made do with the pips on digital Radio 2, and the engaged burr of mobiles as the servers overflowed.’
- ‘He heard the pips of a radio time-signal as he neared the kitchen.’
- ‘When logging off, the device will emit three short pip sounds to indicate testing has finished.’
- ‘No, I wanted to know the real time, checked daily against the daily 8am BBC Radio pips.’
Early 20th century: imitative.
nounPlural pipsmass noun
A disease of poultry or other birds causing thick mucus in the throat and white scale on the tongue.
- ‘Rearing turkeys was no easy job even in small numbers and diseases such as pip and gape took their toll despite good care and attention.’
give someone the pip
dated, informal Make someone angry or depressed.‘that sort of talk gave Jimmy the pip’
- ‘If this gives you the pip, think before you nip about the wisdom of people in glass houses not throwing stones.’
- ‘Stories like this one from AP really give me the pip.’
- ‘If somebody's giving you the pip - and that possibility's high - view them as yet another interesting deviation from the norm.’
- ‘Professionals who wrap themselves in national colours following success (usually only when someone throws it in their direction) gives me the pip.’
- ‘But while the seeded status accorded Alex McLeish's men should make this monumental tie easier to swallow, it could still give them the pip.’
- ‘I DON'T know about you, but the row over a Blackburn trader being, in effect, told by visiting French stallholders what he could and couldn't sell on a continental market in his own town fairly gave me the pip.’
- ‘Even tongue-in-cheek advice books, such as Camilla Morton's How To Walk In High Heels, give me the pip.’
Late Middle English: from Middle Dutch pippe, probably from an alteration of Latin pituita ‘slime’. In the late 15th century the word came to be applied humorously to unspecified human diseases, and later to ill humour.
verbpips, pipped, pipping[with object]
(of a young bird) crack (the shell of the egg) when hatching.‘as the eggs are being pipped the female clucks’
- ‘The first chicks will start to pip the shell as early as the 19th day of incubation.’
- ‘Each pipped egg was measured and put in a portable heating unit at 37 deg C until it hatched’
Late 19th century: perhaps of imitative origin.
verbpips, pipped, pipping[with object]British
1Defeat by a small margin or at the last moment.‘you were just pipped for the prize’
- ‘Here, Leeds were just pipped by three points by rivals Bingley Harriers.’
- ‘To my eye the Coupe just pips the Roadster as the ultimate modern classic.’
- ‘Millions of viewers voted for their favourite, with Will pipping rival Gareth Gates in the final.’
- ‘His comments come after a survey named Elvis as having the most iconic hairstyle - pipping David Beckham for the crown.’
- ‘Brave Ranger 9/4 finished strongly to just pip Sallins Prince for second place by a head.’
- ‘There was the same result in the breaststroke while, in freestyle, Sean reversed the placings, narrowly pipping his brother.’
- ‘She finished with silver having controlled from the start only to be pipped on the line.’
- ‘In the semi-finals, Gregson took the final pink to pip Mark Dodds 64-56, while York first teamer Gall beat York second teamer Dave Sanderson 51-39.’
- ‘And the 25-year-old may one day pip Armstrong in Paris.’
- ‘Thus on the last day he only needed to pip Hargan by one second to claim the yellow jersey.’
- ‘They were none too pleased to be pipped by just one point in the final round.’
- ‘Ireland's team made a heroic effort and were just pipped for the bronze medal.’
- ‘But the best comeback was by White, who came from 36-31 down to pip Andy Buckley.’
- ‘The Laois team came fourth in the competition and were narrowly pipped by first two points for third place.’
- ‘Meanwhile, the socialists were pipped into second place by the National Front by 0.7 %.’
- ‘Shearer also picked up the goal of the season award for his volley against Everton and just pipped City's Darren Edmondson to the prize.’
- ‘Cedric Botha just managed to pip Des Barnard in the C division.’
- ‘He didn't just pip the previous record, he's beaten it out of sight.’
- ‘Last year was the second hottest on record, pipped only by 1998.’
- ‘Inverness only pipped Clyde on the final day for the First Division title.’
- 1.1dated Hit or wound (someone) with a gun.‘he pipped one of our fellows through the head yesterday’
pip someone at (or to) the post
Defeat someone at the last moment.‘I was pipped at the post in the men's finals’
- ‘The final kick in the final second of a heart-stopping afternoon saw Melrose pip Peebles to the post.’
- ‘Sadly, she was pipped to the post by Pam from Preston.’
- ‘Having looked a winner, Quinn was pipped at the post by Scot David Sneddon.’
- ‘But Sam Allardyce revealed today that Hoddle was pipped at the post when he could have won the race by a distance.’
- ‘Nevertheless, she is disappointed that Matthew was pipped at the post by Nathan, who, she says, was later revealed to be an experienced model.’
- ‘But when I went round to my then girlfriend's, I discovered her ex had pipped me to the post with half a dozen red roses.’
- ‘Ireland qualified two teams for the quarter-finals, were unlucky when Ulster were pipped at the post for a third.’
- ‘Perhaps if she were more willing to put out she would have pipped Pepys at the post.’
- ‘He just sneaked into the lead and won it and then the final was very close but Paul pipped them at the post.’
- ‘Having beaten off a number of other councils to reach the final, Burnley was pipped at the post for first prize by South Lanarkshire.’
Late 19th century: from pip or pip.
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