One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The quantity of liquid that can be contained in a nipperkin; a small quantity of ale, wine, spirits, etc. Chiefly Scottish in later use.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Phillip (fl. 1596–1619), translator. Origin uncertain. Perhaps from a Dutch diminutive formation from nippen to sip; compare Dutch nippertje, Dutch regional nipken, knipken. Alternatively, perhaps compare Middle Dutch nipelkijn, nypelkin (rare) a type of game, or perhaps compare nip.
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