Definition of dip in English:



  • 1[with object] Put or let something down quickly or briefly in or into (liquid)

    ‘he dipped a brush in the paint’
    • ‘Test strips have a double square design and can be read 15 seconds after dipping into the wound fluid.’
    • ‘Thetis gives birth to a son, Achilles, whom she attempts to make immortal by dipping him in the magical waters of the River Styx.’
    • ‘When a test strip is dipped in yam sap, the sap will move along the strip, binding with antibodies that react with viruses.’
    • ‘As per the story, chefs dipping fingers into their culinary creations to test them, still wearing jewellery while cooking, not wiping down chopping boards between meats etc., you get to see it all.’
    • ‘The supermarkets demand that all bananas must be dipped in fungicide.’
    • ‘His magnificent arc of a brush had been dipped in white paint.’
    • ‘He splits a hot pretzel and gives her half, which she dips into warm cheese sauce.’
    • ‘Following each five piercings, the needle was dipped into a small vial containing 0 • 1 mL chloroform.’
    • ‘Artist Tatsuo Majima creates ‘Tempura Venus’ by dipping a miniature of Venus de Milo in tempura batter and then deep frying it.’
    • ‘The darts, sharpened at one end, are dipped in the poisonous sap of the curare tree to produce an anaesthetic effect upon the victim.’
    • ‘The woman constantly dipped her fingers into water to moisten the flax and keep it from breaking.’
    • ‘Leaves are picked off the vine, washed, and dipped briefly in boiling water.’
    • ‘The printer first dips the block in the colour and places it on the fabric.’
    • ‘You will have spent the last two months collecting pine cones of uniform size and dipping them in gold paint (they're 10 for a pound in Matalan, but that's not the point).’
    • ‘Patience mixed with excitement as people moved through the process of voting, dipping their fingers in a purple ink to mark them as having voted.’
    • ‘Have each child dip his hand in brown paint on press onto one side of the paper.’
    • ‘The membrane is then dipped into a solution containing the probes for the gene which is being sought.’
    • ‘Minna demonstrates how to gather glass by dipping a pencil into a jar of honey; although it's much heavier, molten glass drips and flows in a similar way.’
    • ‘She dipped it in the salty water, cringing, and moved it back and forth, spreading the blood.’
    • ‘But I had never put on paints before, so I moved with slow caution, slowly dipping the brush into red lip paint.’
    immerse, submerge, plunge, duck, dunk, lower, sink
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[no object]Put a hand or tool into (a bag or container) in order to take something out.
      ‘Ian dipped into his briefcase and pulled out a photograph’
      • ‘Ogden ignored him, dipped into his briefcase a second time and produced another photofit.’
      • ‘She dipped into her purse and pulled out ten dollars; she was blissful and her boyfriend was in shock.’
      • ‘Using a large metal scoop, he dipped into the barrel and poured some dark colored beans into his cupped hand.’
    2. 1.2[no object]Spend from or make use of (one's financial resources)
      ‘you won't have to dip into your savings’
      • ‘Too pained, too drunk to turn up to his labouring jobs, he dips into the $4,000 he had saved to buy her a diamond ring.’
      • ‘But he said the government would not fund the measures by dipping into its stabilization fund, from which it has planned to pay off part of Russia's $44 billion debt to the Paris Club.’
      • ‘They have slashed spending, cut programs, dipped into emergency funding, and may order more employee lay-offs.’
      • ‘In order to fund the uptick in spending, households are dipping into savings.’
      • ‘But the Bush plan panders to the fears of retirees and workers while his administration dips into the program's trust fund to help pay for its tax cut and war spending.’
      • ‘In sum, the Finance Minister dipped into the PRSI fund, diverted a euro windfall due to the Central Bank and brought forward the deadline for company tax payments.’
      • ‘He pointed to the fact that while savings rates are negative in the US - meaning that Americans are dipping into their savings - in the UK they remain at 4.5%.’
      • ‘But the budget Bush sent to Congress last month dips into the Social Security surplus to reduce - not eliminate - the deficit spending he proposes.’
      • ‘The Howard Government is again dipping into its coffers, announcing today huge spending on roads and rail including major work on the Hume and Pacific highways.’
      • ‘The VHI board has criticised the Tánaiste's move, saying it had been dipping into its reserves since September 2004 in the expectation it would receive the windfall from its rival.’
      • ‘Most were not wealthy, and many were pensioners dipping into their savings rather than face long waits for operations.’
      • ‘He used his salary and dipped into his personal finances for official duties.’
      • ‘Since then, only Sri Lanka has dipped into the funds by spending 4.5 million yen to buy nine used trucks to clean septic tanks.’
      • ‘His energy was boundless as he visited courts to assist those needing help with money, even dipping into his own personal resources.’
      • ‘The increase is being financed by dipping into funds dedicated to medical purchases, a move that pits workers against social security recipients.’
      • ‘But Bradford Council's ruling Tory group is trying to keep the authority's share of the council tax down to 1.58 per cent rise partly by keeping pay increases down and dipping into its reserves.’
      • ‘By dipping into its reserves, and raising taxes and municipal service fees, the city has found $15 million, but must borrow another $4 million.’
      • ‘But I'm not a fan the White House's refusal to acknowledge that they are dipping into the Social Security surplus, perhaps even more so than projected.’
      • ‘Many graduate students would benefit from dipping into its resources.’
      • ‘The trust has identified savings from a number of departments - and has dipped into its capital savings to solve its financial crisis.’
    3. 1.3[no object]Read only parts of (a publication) or explore (a subject) in a desultory manner.
      • ‘Rather, it would seem much more felicitous to use it as a reference book (as the dust jacket itself notes), to be dipped into or browsed again and again.’
      • ‘Instead dip into it, flip through the pages, check out your favourite topics first and then move onto the rest.’
      • ‘Although the usual practice is to dip into such reference works in any order, most of the content for most of us will be new.’
      • ‘I've enjoyed what I've read of the book so far - I plan to dip into it in small measures.’
      • ‘On dipping into it, this seems one of those annoying books that settles for repeatedly stating the blindingly obvious in prose riddled with so much motivational jargon you just might, on a tired day, mistake it for having something to say.’
      • ‘Jung's decision to be a psychiatrist came towards the end of his medical studies when he dipped into Krafft-Ebing's Textbook of Psychiatry.’
      • ‘This soundbite approach does become tiring quite quickly - it is a book to dip into, rather than read cover-to-cover.’
      • ‘In this great plum pudding of a book a reader dips into its pages to find unexpected treasures alongside familiar figures.’
      • ‘Alexander Games, who compiled the anthology, obviously intended it to be dipped into rather than read straight through.’
      • ‘The divisions and headings make the book easy to dip into and in theory to skim, although would-be skimmers will need to keep one thumb lodged firmly in the index.’
      • ‘As a bit of recreation from digging around in tomes of social theory and political philosophy for my thesis, I've been dipping into the awesome David Crystal's new book, The Stories of English.’
      • ‘You will need to bring your own history and philosophy to the task, and don't forget to dip into the enemy's operational handbooks and read between the lines of their public pronouncements.’
      • ‘I've been reading Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle and dipping into his correspondence.’
      • ‘This is a book to dip into, rather than read at a gallop.’
      • ‘Certainly, having read it once, I could dip into it at random and enjoy the writing and description without lamenting too much the loss of plot.’
      • ‘This is a book to dip into, not to read from cover to cover.’
      • ‘The Story of Film can be read as a continuous narrative, but will be equally useful as a handy reference to dip into.’
      • ‘Bishop is exactly right; the book should be dipped into so that the reader can flip through the pages and find pleasure in the voices that come through the essays, published over a long and productive career.’
      • ‘It is also very detailed, and, except for the specialist, for dipping into rather than cover to cover reading.’
      • ‘I just hope that they actually read it instead of dipping into it, though the excellence of the index may well encourage the latter.’
    4. 1.4Take (tobacco) orally.
      • ‘Admitted to Harvard Business School, he sat in the back of the classroom dipping snuff and spitting into a cup.’
      • ‘I also knew a guy that worked in there in the paw room that dipped Copenhagen snuff, just like I used to do.’
      • ‘Stewart was capable of dipping snuff, puffing a cigar and chewing Nicorette gum all at once.’
    5. 1.5Immerse (sheep) in a chemical solution that kills parasites.
      • ‘In particular, we are concerned that some farmers have been using unauthorised chemicals to dip sheep or letting freshly dipped sheep access streams.’
      • ‘Twenty-one sheep were dipped to free them from attached ticks, and liberated on the central area.’
      • ‘She said the black-faced sheep of the moors will need shearing later this month and farmers face a logistical nightmare of how to shear and dip their livestock if they cannot move them off the moors.’
      • ‘In fact every sheep, whatever its age, would be dipped in a plunge bath containing the correct solution of a ministry approved scab dip.’
    6. 1.6Make (a candle) by immersing a wick repeatedly in hot wax.
      ‘dipped candles are made using simple equipment’
      • ‘Most Western Reserve families during the mid-19th century manufactured candles by dipping outdoors or in the kitchen.’
      • ‘We will make candles by dipping and by using molds of different kinds.’
      • ‘So it was decided to make the Christmas-tree candles by dipping.’
    7. 1.7dated, informal Baptize (someone) by immersion in water.
  • 2[no object] Sink, drop, or slope downward.

    ‘swallows dipped and soared’
    ‘the sun had dipped below the horizon’
    • ‘Fatty's shoulders dip downwards and Shannon just watches her sister cry with a blank expression.’
    • ‘The sun started to dip below the clouds and the sky was turning a nice orange and yellow color.’
    • ‘In the final scene the camera follows the course of a wire down a telephone pole and out to the fellow's tombstone where it dips into the earth and apparently down to his casket.’
    • ‘The path suddenly dipped very steeply down a sandy bank among tall grasses.’
    • ‘We enjoyed relaxing on a bench in the grounds in the afternoon, watching the swallows dipping down from the eaves and flying low over the immaculate lawn.’
    • ‘The sun had dipped below the horizon much earlier, but it was a warm night for the end of September so the carnival stayed busy until its closing at nine o'clock.’
    • ‘I moved the weights to the front, staring straight ahead into the mirror, watching closely to make sure that my arms didn't dip or drop.’
    • ‘Moving back and forth over the bridge, the camera will dip wildly and sink if the exact center focal point of the camera is not fixed on the bridge.’
    • ‘From June 6 to July 7 the sun never sets, Peter says, dipping to the horizon then rising once more high overhead.’
    • ‘A kingfisher added colour, swallows dipped and wheeled, and the second cast of a March Brown produced a lovely threequarter-pound trout.’
    • ‘Suddenly the singer's face dips into her hands and her voice chokes.’
    • ‘In the final minute of the half, O'Neill's mazy run and cheeky chip deserved a goal, but the ball didn't dip in time to drop under the bar.’
    • ‘The two stood in silence while the sun slowly dipped down below the horizon.’
    • ‘For example, an interesting notice to mariners indicates the point at which the pole star dips below the horizon and thus is no longer visible.’
    • ‘The sun had dipped behind the pines on the hill crests.’
    • ‘By the third day on the road, they had fallen into a pleasing routine, switching drivers every couple hours and setting up camp when the sun started dipping below the western horizon.’
    • ‘When Cassiopeia rose above the horizon the Southern Cross dipped below, and when the Cross rose again Cassiopeia disappeared.’
    • ‘And at long last, the sun finally dipped below the horizon.’
    • ‘The gum collar dips downwards on the inner and outer surface of each tooth but rises between the teeth.’
    sink, set, drop, drop down, go down, fall, descend
    slope down, slope, slant down, descend, go down, drop away, fall away, fall, sink, decline, be at an angle
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1(of a level or amount) become lower or smaller, typically temporarily.
      ‘the president's popularity has dipped’
      ‘audiences dipped below 600,000 for the series’
      • ‘One interesting fact here is that it seems that there is a floor effect with the ratio never dipping below 5.’
      • ‘The California company had only predicted single-digit growth in its US retail PC business, but sales still dipped below expectations.’
      • ‘When carbohydrate content of the diet dipped below 200 kcal, T3 levels fell substantially.’
      • ‘India's grain stocks dipped to about 39 million tonne by June 1, from 64.72 million a year ago.’
      • ‘Enrollment has dropped for several years, dipping below 430 in August.’
      • ‘Many companies have been severely criticized because they often reprice options when a stock dips so low in value that the options are ‘deep out of the money.’’
      • ‘It is not just the AFL that's encountered a spot of turbulence with audience numbers dipping for last weekend's first round of finals.’
      • ‘Shares of Sun dipped slightly to $3.80 at the time of this report.’
      • ‘Temperatures were again expected to dip below freezing tonight but by tomorrow a slow thaw is expected.’
      • ‘The Met Office issued a severe weather warning predicting temperatures would dip below freezing overnight leading to icy stretches on untreated roads.’
      • ‘Margins will dip slightly ‘below the midpoint of the 50 per cent range’ thanks to increased Flash inventory.’
      • ‘However, Cresson's popularity immediately began to dip, as did Mitterrand's own ratings once the temporary boost of the Gulf War disappeared.’
      • ‘It is expected that the country's population will dip below five million by 2017.’
      • ‘Yet, there are enough Labour rebels that if the margin of victory dips below the triple digits and gets anywhere close to 50, the pressure on Blair to give way to Brown will be great.’
      • ‘On this basis the corporation could still claim to be providing a service that most people want and value highly, even if the figures for audience share dipped below 30 per cent.’
      • ‘When Jordan was injured and missed most of the 1985-1986 season, Nike's stock dipped.’
      • ‘The amount may dip to a tiny fraction of a percent if the idea represents a slight improvement in an established product, such as a better knob in a car.’
      • ‘Who'll be the next target when Schroeder's popularity starts dipping again?’
      • ‘The first is aimed at those who cannot afford for the value of the fund to dip below the amount of cash initially invested.’
      • ‘European mobile telecom stocks dipped on Tuesday morning after Finnish bellwether Nokia said that fourth quarter sales may fall below expectations.’
    2. 2.2[with object]Lower or move (something) downward.
      ‘the plane dipped its wings’
      • ‘It was as if the plane was dipping its wings in greeting to the 1.25 million people assembled below.’
      • ‘She dipped her head, sniffed the ground and then moved into the cave.’
      • ‘He dipped his muzzle downwards, slowly, closing his eyes for a brief moment in remnants of a formality that was not welcome.’
      • ‘The sailors let out a lusty cheer and one of the planes dipped his wings in reply.’
      • ‘Again, this fish just dipped the float and did not move off.’
      • ‘Once you learn the basics you can get creative with hot hip movements, low dips and fast spins.’


  • 1A brief swim.

    ‘she went for a dip in a pool’
    • ‘There will also be an opportunity for the guests to fly kites, take a dip in the sea or the resort pool.’
    • ‘Barbara and Shane went for an early afternoon dip in the open air pool.’
    • ‘Instead I had a quick dip in the pool, showered and raced for the airport.’
    • ‘University of Florida researchers have confirmed what avid swimmers already know: A dip in the pool works up an appetite.’
    • ‘Tugging it off, I laid it down beside the water and jumped in for a refreshing dip.’
    • ‘Who among us does not enjoy a dip in a cool lake after a long portage or hike?’
    • ‘Josh and Elizabeth discussed directions and then Josh happily took a quick dip in the water.’
    • ‘Or will they have a dip in the hotel pool, with the bar close by?’
    • ‘You can also take part in the exercise programmes which run in the gym throughout the day, or take a dip in the pool.’
    • ‘Glorious sunshine greeted swimmers taking their first dip of the season in Highworth's open air pool.’
    • ‘Imagine the sun basking down on you over the past week with a pool nearby to take a dip and cool off in whenever you liked.’
    • ‘We enjoyed a sandy off-road diversion and the briefest of dips in the North Atlantic, with its warming Gulf Stream magic.’
    • ‘‘Maybe after we're done we'll head over to my house and go for a dip in my pool,’ Benny said.’
    • ‘The little dots in the foreground are some of my colleagues, taking a quick dip in the briny water.’
    • ‘Now swimming of course can be anything; it could mean going down to the beach and having a bit of a dip, doing lap swimming, or just throwing yourself into the water occasionally.’
    • ‘You can enjoy a complimentary dip in the pool plus a glass of draught beer, and kids can have soft drinks and snacks.’
    • ‘Swimmers saw in the New Year by taking an icy dip in the River Wharfe and an equally chilly plunge into White Wells bath-house.’
    • ‘Since the voluntary cleaning of this pool there has been a marked interest in taking a dip.’
    • ‘We would rob the tallest mango trees in the colony of their ripest mangos and often dive into the nearby canal for a cool dip.’
    • ‘And he enjoys the occasional dip to this day - when the weather is warm enough.’
    swim, bathe, dive, plunge, splash, paddle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A brief immersion in liquid.
      ‘a dip in hot water is prescribed to destroy fruit flies’
      • ‘Just an occasional dip in water keeps them looking almost as fresh as newly plucked, natural ones.’
      • ‘After the chipotle topping, we give it a dip in the Belgian chocolate type of your choice.’
      • ‘Drain the bottle and give it a dip in the soda solution.’
      • ‘Give the veggies a quick dip in a large pot of boiling salted water.’
      • ‘Watch for clothing such as a coat sleeve or shirt tails. You just may give them a dip in the toilet.’
    2. 1.2
      short for sheep dip
      • ‘Hydro-carbon compounds in the dip would cause plastic containers to bulge and explode.’
      • ‘But if cypermethrin in the dip leaks into local burns, it can kill insects and fish.’
      • ‘Keep the sheep immersed in the dip for one minute or as recommended by the manufacturer.’
    3. 1.3A cursory read of a publication or a superficial exploration of a subject.
      ‘a quick dip into this document’
      • ‘The book contains a new delight with every dip into it.’
      • ‘A quick dip into some of them will give you an outline of what is involved.’
      • ‘So a quick dip into the book, skimming over areas and concentrating on some, can be quite refreshing.’
  • 2A thick sauce in which pieces of food are dunked before eating.

    ‘tasty garlic dip’
    • ‘Be warned that the gentle pizza bread that arrives at all tables, along with a sprightly pesto dip, can ruin your appetite for the pizza to come.’
    • ‘She had even brought extra toppings from home: sprinkles, chocolate sauce, nacho cheese dip, and salsa.’
    • ‘And even though it won't be exactly bean dip, it will be a tasty substitute.’
    • ‘Check out a sample recipe for sweet onion cheese dip.’
    • ‘We began with salmon roll sushi which was presented with the Wasabe and soy sauce dip.’
    • ‘The split pea and bacon soup was rich and flavourful, but I'd give the goat cheese and artichoke dip a miss - it was bland, and reminded me of those hollowed out goopy spinach dips you see at Christmas parties.’
    • ‘She also received a pile of salad the size of a small country and a creamy garlic dip.’
    • ‘A dressing of soured cream with dill and cucumber topped them off, along with a side dip of that hot chilli sauce - delicious and different.’
    • ‘I reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a container of French onion dip.’
    • ‘Davis starts off with snacks such as salsa and a spicy cheese dip.’
    • ‘The yoghurt dip tastes fine, not too nose-botheringly hot, but I'm not wild about its pairing with tofu.’
    • ‘Try mashing a handful of garbanzos with lemon juice for a quick chip dip.’
    • ‘An unusually fluffed-up, subtle hummus dip has a clear, sesame ring to it.’
    • ‘But for your next picnic, forget about all of the mayonaissy salads and all the chips and dip and fried foods, and go for a healthy summer picnic.’
    • ‘The kids, meanwhile, munched happily on a pizza (frozen variety), pasta with tomato sauce and chips with a garlic mayonnaise dip.’
    • ‘This fresh and tasty dip can be eaten with veggies, or spread on toasted bread.’
    • ‘Lili opted for mushroom soup: me for potato wedges with bacon and cheese and a garlic mayonnaise dip.’
    • ‘I have to go make homemade guacamole and sun-dried tomato dip, scarf down dinner, vacuum, shower and dress myself.’
    • ‘The chickpea croquettes called falafel and the ever-popular chickpea dip, hummus, are both very good.’
    • ‘He really loves them with a bit of bean dip on them.’
    sauce, dressing, relish, creamy mixture
    View synonyms
  • 3A brief downward slope followed by an upward one.

    ‘the road's precipitous dips and turns’
    • ‘The Air America pilot who came to check out the airstrip gave it his OK despite a dip in the middle and an uphill slope to the whole strip.’
    • ‘At the end of a stand of trees, there was a slight dip, and at the bottom of that dip stood a white stone building.’
    • ‘The new Mondeo has much greater suspension travel than the old car, making it extremely competent in dealing with sudden ridges or dips in the road.’
    • ‘Leaving the road, they climbed another hill and found a small dip at the bottom that would be good for sleeping.’
    • ‘Because the site is in a dip, below the level of Cheetham Hill Road which runs along its western side, some of the apartment blocks will be up to 15 storeys high.’
    • ‘Surface flow normally begins in just a few areas, especially dips or hollows near the stream.’
    • ‘Roaring down Main Street, Benson crossed a road and spilled his hot coffee in his lap when he hit the dip.’
    • ‘Just after the bottom of the hill however we slammed into a slight dip in the slope.’
    • ‘Rainwater routinely collects in a dip under Waddington Road Bridge during extreme weather because of drainage problems.’
    • ‘Cory took several of the fruits and dropped them onto the bowl he'd made in his shirt, and I followed him as he walked over to a dip in the ground.’
    • ‘As we reached the dip before the main road away from the lake, the car slid into an embankment.’
    • ‘The wind is blowing in our favour, but Kent points out dips and hollows we must avoid because the breeze there could swirl up and send our scent out to alert any deer above.’
    • ‘From here on, the trail becomes easier to ride - a lot of switchbacks and steep dips, bottoming in hairpin turns.’
    • ‘Continuing, he explained that because of the bumps and dips in the road, people are often forced to cross over the road to avoid the bumps and pointed out that obviously, this could have disastrous results.’
    • ‘Each dip and trough of the uneven ground caused her to lurch forward in her seat and rattled her to the core.’
    • ‘We specifically avoided the usual low-frequency reactions to a dip in the road by providing highly controlled ride motions.’
    • ‘Passing through this dip on a particular turn, I lost control, braked and fell.’
    • ‘A dip in the road sends us both bouncing up off our seats.’
    • ‘It is a land of undulating hills and hollows, dips and drumlins, rivers, inlets, estuaries and lakes, dotted with homes and barns.’
    • ‘He requested that the dangerous dip be taken out of the road at White's Cross, Lower Meelick and that the ditches be cut back to improve visibility at this junction.’
    slope, incline, decline, slant, descent, cant
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1An act of sinking or dropping briefly before rising again.
      ‘a dip in the share price’
      • ‘With a quick dip of his left wing he easily dodged the shots aimed for him.’
      • ‘If we were in too much of a hurry to come down, we would greet you with a friendly dip of the wing.’
      • ‘Cheung's external stillness demonstrates just how she is able to convey a range of tamped-down emotions with the merest of movements - a dip of the head, a sashay of the hips.’
  • 4technical The extent to which something is angled downward from the horizontal, in particular.

    • ‘The structural style comprised half-grabens bounded by faults whose dip and downthrow were mostly to the south.’
    • ‘This pre-existing ramp had a 25 [degrees] dip, and mimics the SW extent of Hormuz salt in this domain.’
    • ‘The variation in dip and orientation of the foliation within the body defines a broad D3 antiform.’
    • ‘However, high cliffs make access to the base of sections difficult and dangerous to log, and the low angle of dip minimizes the practicality of logging smaller cliffs.’
    • ‘This section is similar in character and dip, and lies upsection from site B2.’
    1. 4.1The angle made with the horizontal at any point by the earth's magnetic field, or by a magnetic needle in response to this.
      • ‘However, he had no idea what this dip might be elsewhere on Earth.’
      • ‘It is a good story to tell in class, not only because it teaches students about magnetic dip, but because it is an excellent example of what makes a scientific experiment.’
      • ‘As the airplane turns, the force that results from the magnetic dip causes the float assembly to swing in the same direction that the float turns.’
    2. 4.2Geology
      The angle a stratum makes with the horizontal.
      ‘the cliff profile tends to be dominated by the dip of the beds’
      • ‘This is due to poor exposure, shallow dip of the strata, and relatively few stratigraphic wells.’
      • ‘Seismic reflection data from NW James Ross Island show maximum dips of 15 to the SE in the subsurface, indicating that the steep dips are confined to a zone close to the basin margin.’
      • ‘It is now commonly accepted that the dip of the steeper part of a listric normal fault is approximately 60 deg.’
      • ‘Whatever their origin, polygonal fault systems become less isotropic with increase in regional dip and are truly polygonal only when the regional dip is near horizontal.’
    3. 4.3Astronomy Surveying
      The apparent depression of the horizon from the line of observation, due to the curvature of the earth.
      • ‘As the resolution of the normal eye in broad daylight is about one minute of arc, this dip is an easily visible angle.’
      • ‘That causes a curvature of the light path, which reduces the dip (usually by about 7%).’
      • ‘When the fore and back horizons are brought into line, the sextant reading is twice the angle of dip, assuming that the sextant is free from index error.’
  • 5US informal Powdered or finely cut tobacco that is held in the mouth, typically between the gums and lip, rather than smoked.

    ‘he threw out all of his cans of dip and swore off tobacco’
  • 6North American informal A stupid or foolish person.

    • ‘Yep, I was a total dip, but I don't care.’
    • ‘He's such a dip sometimes.’
    • ‘Joe, you're such a dip.’
    idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
    View synonyms
  • 7dated, informal A pickpocket.

    • ‘It would be of no profit to such men to buy a stolen watch from a dip (pickpocket) and substitute imitation works in a solid gold case.’
    • ‘"Without a doubt," I said, "You're the most beautiful dip I've ever encountered."’
    • ‘I take pride in being a thief, and what's more, I am the best dip in the States.’
  • 8archaic A candle made by immersing a wick repeatedly in hot wax.


  • dip one's toe into (or in)

    • 1Put one's toe briefly in (water), typically to check the temperature.

      • ‘Steve slipped off one of his sandals and dipped his toe into the water.’
      • ‘At first he dipped his toe in it then, discovering the waters warm and comforting, plunged right in.’
      • ‘Obviously nobody had any objection to this and Danielle made a huge show of dipping her toe in the water, clutching her arms and sliding silkily into the water.’
      • ‘I'm not going to go in right now, just wanted to dip my toe in the water and see how it felt.’
      • ‘She dipped her toe in the water to feel the temperature, and realized it was fairly warm.’
      • ‘She dipped her toe in and found it cold, but she wanted to be clean again.’
      • ‘This is something that I can't get my head around, as I need to have the water around tepid tea temps before I can pluck up the courage to dip my toe in.’
      • ‘Norway was shimmering in unusually high summer temperatures during our stay but dipping a toe into the fjord was still enough to send me straight into the hotel's indoor heated pool!’
      1. 1.1Begin to do or test (something) cautiously.
        ‘the company has already dipped its toe into the market’
        • ‘In fact, up until 2003 (when he began dipping his toe in the cop film genre), I didn't think Shelton made anything but sports comedies.’
        • ‘The same goes for weekend breaks; an increasingly popular way of dipping your toe into a new culture without breaking the bank.’
        • ‘The actor has been dipping his toe into a variety of genres for years now, something which he admits drives his agent mad.’
        • ‘Last year she took this resourcefulness one step further and dipped her toe into the clothing market for the first time with a ready-to-wear range.’
        • ‘As always the sensible advice is, if you fancy it, dip your toe in, but don't invest money you can't afford to lose.’
        • ‘When he arrived he had decided to make a root vegetable bake from his new tiny vegetarian cookbook (as we are his newest group of friends and we are all vegetarians he is dipping his toe into our world of eating).’
        • ‘About seven years ago, Pauric first dipped his toe in the fashion world by designing jewellery.’
        • ‘While in San Francisco, Faulkner began dipping his toe in stand-up comedy.’
        • ‘What are you doing dipping your toe into the cesspool that is politics?’
        • ‘Lady Thatcher dipped her toe into public service reform but that was never seen through because she fell from power and the Tories were then overtaken by events.’


Old English dyppan, of Germanic origin; related to deep.

Definition of DIP in English:


  • 1Computing
    Document image processing, a system for the digital storage and retrieval of documents as scanned images.

  • 2Electronics
    Dual in-line package, a package for an integrated circuit consisting of a rectangular sealed unit with two parallel rows of downward-pointing pins.