One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small hard seed in a fruit.
seed, stone, pitView synonyms
- ‘Place the fruit, rind and pips in a large bowl and cover with cold water.’
- ‘This machine breaks the skins of the grapes but doesn't press them, and removes all stalks and some of the pips.’
- ‘That explains why all the fruit has nasty pips in it.’
- ‘Cut each passionfruit in half and scoop out the pips and pulp with a small spoon into a sieve set over a bowl.’
- ‘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!’
- ‘However, weather can trick the plant, meaning sugar levels can indicate ripeness while the pip of the grape remains hard or green.’
- ‘Our grandchildren planted some Braeburn apple pips and they have all grown.’
- ‘They can be blocked by phenolic compounds, which are already known to be found in the pips and skin of grapes.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Some winemakers go so far as to crush the pips of the grapes in order to extract as much bitter tannin as possible.’
- ‘And it's really good - heavy on the lemons and probably a little heavy on the pips too but it tastes great.’
- ‘I quite like oranges, but the pips spoil them, and peeling them is hard work.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Some foods, especially fruit skins and pips can swell in the gut causing blockages.’
- ‘You can propagate by division, from proliferations or pips, or from seed.’
- ‘The daughter puts some raisins in the mother's mouth after removing their pips.’
- ‘Let the oranges cool then cut into quarters, remove pips and any hard stalk.’
- ‘Strain the liquid off carefully through muslin making sure that no pips or pulp get through.’
2US informal An excellent or very attractive person or thing.‘it's a pip of a story’
Late Middle English (denoting a variety of apple): abbreviation of pippin (the current sense dates from the late 18th century).
1Any of the spots on playing cards, dice, or dominoes.
- ‘If the game is blocked, the partnership with the smallest total of pips on their tiles gets one point for the round.’
- ‘Some players count the pip cards 2 to 9 as all worth 5 points.’
- ‘In both cases, the players who did not domino score the total of the pips on the tiles left in their hand.’
- ‘Joker can't be used, and deuce can only be used as pip value.’
- ‘Any combination of cards adding up to 15 pips scores 2 points.’
- ‘At the end of the hand, each player gets the total number of pips in his hands.’
- ‘Joker has no value at the finish, and deuce has only pip value.’
- ‘In the diagram, the match has just ended because E & W have 12 pips.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘All previous decks had shown pips like a normal pack of playing cards.’
- ‘The cards are arranged on the table so that the number of pips showing shows the team's current score.’
- ‘To score, the pip value of each card in a row, column or diagonal is summed.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The total pips revealed denotes the team's score.’
- ‘Each domino with 10 pips - - is worth 10 points to the side that wins it in their tricks.’
- ‘For purpose the picture cards count 12 and 11 and the pip cards have their face value.’
- ‘Each player gets the total number of pips left in his hand.’
- ‘Remember that an exposed double scores the total of its pips.’
- ‘Most of the pip card are worth their face value, which is added to the value of the pile.’
- ‘Numeral cards have roman numbers and can also be recognised by counting the pips.’
2A single blossom of a clustered head of flowers.
3A diamond-shaped segment of the surface of a pineapple.
4An 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.’
5British A star (1–3 according to rank) on the shoulder of an army officer's uniform.
- ‘I noticed that all-important pip on his shoulder.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘He was in full dress uniform, black with golden pips and a red beret.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘She found herself with captain's pips on her collar at the tender age of eighteen.’
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.
- ‘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.’
- ‘He heard the pips of a radio time-signal as he neared the kitchen.’
- ‘We made do with the pips on digital Radio 2, and the engaged burr of mobiles as the servers overflowed.’
Early 20th century: imitative.
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
informal, dated Make someone angry or depressed.
- ‘Professionals who wrap themselves in national colours following success (usually only when someone throws it in their direction) gives 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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Stories like this one from AP really give 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.’
- ‘If this gives you the pip, think before you nip about the wisdom of people in glass houses not throwing stones.’
- ‘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 humor.
verbpips, pipped, pipping[with object]
(of a young bird) crack (the shell of the egg) when hatching.
- ‘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’
- ‘Inverness only pipped Clyde on the final day for the First Division title.’
- ‘Here, Leeds were just pipped by three points by rivals Bingley Harriers.’
- ‘Last year was the second hottest on record, pipped only by 1998.’
- ‘She finished with silver having controlled from the start only to be pipped on the line.’
- ‘Brave Ranger 9/4 finished strongly to just pip Sallins Prince for second place by a head.’
- ‘Millions of viewers voted for their favourite, with Will pipping rival Gareth Gates in the final.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘His comments come after a survey named Elvis as having the most iconic hairstyle - pipping David Beckham for the crown.’
- ‘Meanwhile, the socialists were pipped into second place by the National Front by 0.7 %.’
- ‘Ireland's team made a heroic effort and were just pipped for the bronze medal.’
- ‘Cedric Botha just managed to pip Des Barnard in the C division.’
- ‘But the best comeback was by White, who came from 36-31 down to pip Andy Buckley.’
- ‘He didn't just pip the previous record, he's beaten it out of sight.’
- ‘To my eye the Coupe just pips the Roadster as the ultimate modern classic.’
- ‘And the 25-year-old may one day pip Armstrong in Paris.’
- ‘There was the same result in the breaststroke while, in freestyle, Sean reversed the placings, narrowly pipping his brother.’
- ‘Thus on the last day he only needed to pip Hargan by one second to claim the yellow jersey.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The Laois team came fourth in the competition and were narrowly pipped by first two points for third place.’
- ‘They were none too pleased to be pipped by just one point in the final round.’
- 1.1dated Hit or wound (someone) with a gunshot.
Late 19th century: from pip or pip.
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