Definition of pipe in English:



  • 1A tube of metal, plastic, or other material used to convey water, gas, oil, or other fluid substances.

    • ‘Water poured from the pipe and buckled the road making it impassable.’
    • ‘Also, the underground water pipes have allegedly been damaged by vehicle traffic going in and out of the area.’
    • ‘They simply lay a drainage pipe between their home and the canal.’
    • ‘Two new rainwater drainage pipes have been installed.’
    • ‘We are constantly upgrading drain and water supply pipes.’
    • ‘Most of the pipes and ducts for the utility companies have now been laid and roadworks have started.’
    • ‘There also were reports of leaking gas pipes.’
    • ‘There are also plans to lay new water mains to replace pipes dating back to the Second World War as part of the project.’
    • ‘Modern roads have a maze of water and sewer pipes running beneath them.’
    • ‘Roads, bridges, utility lines, water and sewer pipes, and other supporting services have to be rebuilt.’
    • ‘If it is shown to have been the cause of the blast, the problem of leaking gas pipes will have been thrust into the public domain once more.’
    • ‘He was enquiring about a burst sewer pipe in Smith's field.’
    • ‘Shut off the water to prevent pipes from freezing and if you have sprinklers drain them out.’
    • ‘Tom's fixing the pipes under the bathroom sink.’
    • ‘Instead of being buried, the pipe supplying water to the school lay above ground, a violation of national building guidelines.’
    • ‘Lead tends to accumulate as water sits in pipes overnight.’
    • ‘The thaw after heavy snowfall meant that plumbers were inundated with calls to repair burst pipes.’
    • ‘Many residents were woken by the deafening sound of the exploding pipe and water gushing down the street and into their houses.’
    • ‘Geraldton homes and a school were evacuated yesterday after a gas pipe was damaged during roadworks.’
    • ‘The city has an extensive system of stormwater drains and pipes to channel water away from the heavy downpours in the wet season.’
    tube, conduit, hose, main, duct, line, channel, canal, conveyor, pipeline, drain, tubing, piping, siphon, cylinder
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    1. 1.1A cylindrical vein of ore or rock, especially one in which diamonds are found.
      • ‘Helicopters frantically shuttled crews out in near snow-blind conditions to stake suspected diamond pipes before their rivals.’
      • ‘The ‘Big Holes’ left on the South African diamond pipes are hundreds of metres deep, and their floors continue to subside as the rock is dug away from below.’
      • ‘The geology and history of the discovery of the diamond pipes are described in detail in numerous publications.’
      • ‘Hence, these volcanic pipes are found to have diamonds in them.’
      • ‘In order to mine the deep pipes in which diamonds were found, capital, technology, and control of water were all-important.’
    2. 1.2A cavity in cast metal.
      • ‘Pipe and lamination defects are a by-product of ingot steel production.’
      • ‘The pipe in the cast metal may be filled up with sand.’
      • ‘The most troublesome incidence of emitter-collector shorts is that due to pipes.’
    3. 1.3informal A duct, vessel, or tubular structure in the body, or in an animal or plant.
      • ‘Hyphae function as pipes to funnel more water and nutrients - particularly phosphorus - to the plants.’
      • ‘Normally, food moves down a pipe (called the esophagus) between your mouth and your stomach.’
      • ‘Veins are pipes in the body for carrying blood back to the heart.’
      • ‘The acid damages cells lining the oesophagus, also known as the food pipe or gullet, which can later become cancerous.’
      • ‘It is a chronic condition in which stomach acid backs up into your food pipe.’
      duct, tube, channel, passage
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    4. 1.4Computing A connection to the Internet or to a website.
      • ‘Their large internet pipes are a valuable perk they can share with their employees.’
      • ‘Home- and office-based video streaming is coming, and that data needs a fat pipe in both directions.’
      • ‘The value of the high-speed Internet for end users is defined less by the speed of the network and more by the content that travels through these pipes.’
      • ‘These companies have discovered, in fact, that the bigger the Internet delivery pipe, the bigger the potential return.’
      • ‘Smarter, faster routers and more fiber will be important as networks drive many kinds of data down the same pipe.’
  • 2A narrow tube made from wood, clay, etc., with a bowl at one end for containing burning tobacco, the smoke from which is drawn into the mouth.

    • ‘She placed a pipe in her mouth, and blew out the smoke.’
    • ‘Clive puffed again, then slowly pulled the pipe from his mouth and leaned back in his chair, making it rock slightly as he held the pipe in front of his face.’
    • ‘Cancer of the oral cavity is more common in people who chew tobacco or smoke pipes.’
    • ‘Jones found what he was looking for and put the pipe in his mouth to light.’
    • ‘I sat on a rough log, across from Father, who smoked his pipe.’
    • ‘Household objects ranging from baskets to pipes for smoking tobacco are made out of bamboo.’
    • ‘Into his car I would eagerly climb, greeted by the familiar smell of cigars and pipe tobacco.’
    • ‘An ancient woman sat on the step, smoking her pipe.’
    • ‘He was wearing a deer stalker's outfit, puffing on a pipe and wearing a monocle, or would have been wearing a monocle if it weren't swinging in the air beneath him.’
    • ‘He sat in a rocking chair after dinner and smoked a long clay pipe.’
    • ‘On the fringes, old men sit smoking huge pipes and pineapple vendors provide refreshment for tired buyers and sellers.’
    • ‘It was then that she realized three bearded men were regarding her with keen interest, smoking identical pipes.’
    • ‘He was sitting on his porch, as always, rocking in his rocking chair and puffing on his pipe.’
    • ‘I wasn't nervous or afraid; but I sat up and lit my pipe and leaned against a rock.’
    • ‘His eyes narrowed and he took the pipe out of his mouth.’
    • ‘Some of the older women were also smoking traditional pipes.’
    • ‘A lot of people are loitering outside the city, just talking amongst themselves or smoking from pipes.’
    • ‘He thrust his pipe toward me and began a monologue.’
    • ‘So we'd laugh and smoke our pipes, and laugh again, sitting in the old run-down barn.’
    • ‘Ali spoke and Steve just sat and smoked his pipe.’
    tobacco pipe, meerschaum, clay pipe
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    1. 2.1A quantity of tobacco held by this.
      • ‘Nicotine is present in cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff.’
      • ‘The number of years a person smokes, the number of pipes or cigars smoked per day, and how deeply the person inhales all affect the risk of developing lung cancer.’
      • ‘He made himself comfortable in his recording studio with a pipe of tobacco and the bootleg CD.’
      • ‘They were small but doughty warriors and not averse to a pipe of baccy after the battle.’
      • ‘When he is not in front of the computer, he can be found enjoying a pipe of tobacco.’
    2. 2.2A device for smoking illegal drugs.
      ‘a crack pipe’
      • ‘I forced myself onto my balcony, and very methodically packed another pipe full of cannabis, sat down in a chair, and turned some music on.’
      • ‘I hate to say it but, yeah, I'm pretty sure if all I had to do was smoke crack once, I'd hit that pipe and take the money.’
  • 3A wind instrument consisting of a single tube with holes along its length that are covered by the fingers to produce different notes.

    ‘a reed pipe’
    • ‘The jig was a popular kind of dancing performed to the music of a pipe or tabor that often had a vocal accompaniment.’
    • ‘Their hollow bones were used for musical pipes.’
    • ‘The girl blew into the pipe with her fingers moving dexterously.’
    • ‘From a distant mountain came the plaintive notes of a shepherd's pipe.’
    • ‘She continued playing her pipe.’
    whistle, penny whistle, flute, recorder, fife
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    1. 3.1Bagpipes.
      • ‘The men sing carols and the Scots contingent joins in with their pipes.’
      • ‘Fifes, trumpets, pipes and lutes also accompanied the troops.’
      • ‘As they entered the ring before the fight a small contingent of pipes and drums tried to play Flower of Scotland but were drowned out by a crowd who were desperate for the action to begin.’
      • ‘My father played the fiddle and the pipes; my mother played melodeon and five-string banjo.’
      • ‘The pipes are a specialty amongst the Island musicians and they had some master pipe players.’
    2. 3.2A set of pipes joined together, as in panpipes.
      • ‘The sound of pipes joined the beat of the drum, and the men began to sing a hearty Canaanite sea shanty as the ship moved through the surf and out to sea.’
      • ‘He is also extremely accomplished on whistles, pipes and flutes.’
      • ‘He took out a set of pipes and fingered them for a moment.’
      • ‘His father played the pipes, tin whistle and fiddle and was a notable musician in his day.’
      • ‘There will be six top class soloists featured, playing guitar, trumpet, trombone and pipes, plus a number of solo singers.’
    3. 3.3A tube by which sound is produced in an organ.
      • ‘It was resounding like an organ pipe, strongly enough to rattle windows.’
      • ‘The enormous burnished pipes of the organ, lit from below, rose like architecture behind the musicians.’
      • ‘In the late nineteenth century, organ pipes in many cathedrals of Northern Europe began to crumble in very cold weather.’
      • ‘On the earlier organs, the pipes for each note stood directly in front of its key on the keyboard.’
      • ‘The organ is the largest on the continent with 6,035 pipes, weighing 60 tons and rising to three stories.’
    4. 3.4informal Voice or vocal ability, especially of a powerful singer.
    5. 3.5[in singular]A high-pitched cry or song, especially of a bird.
      • ‘The bright blue sky and the merry pipe of birds call him out to active exercise and unaccustomed sport.’
      • ‘We heard the raucous squabbling of gulls and the haunting pipe of the curlew.’
      • ‘The silence was broken only by the splash of an alligator leaping on some prey far below, and the mournful pipe of some jungle bird across the rivers.’
    6. 3.6A boatswain's whistle.
      • ‘The shrill of the pipe draws the attention.’
      • ‘Shrill trilling vocalizations are thought to be similar to the sound of a boatswain's pipe.’
      • ‘The pipe was blown as soon as the food was ready.’
      • ‘Various calls were made by bugle and bosun's pipe across the PA system of a ship to announce daily activities and pronouncements.’
      • ‘The boatswain's pipe is the 'modern day' descendant of the flutes used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans to convey orders to the oarsmen and galley slaves.’
  • 4Computing
    A command that causes the output from one routine to be the input for another.

    • ‘By contrast, pipes, sockets and command-line arguments are communication mechanisms normally used between two separate programs.’
    • ‘You can use the pipe to redirect the file's output.’
    • ‘You can do this using Unix pipes and you could probably do the whole thing in shell script.’
    • ‘I didn't want to get into explanations of pipes or mailer options, both of which have been discussed in other articles.’
    • ‘I used that named pipe to connect to a reader of remote-mouse codes.’
    1. 4.1The symbol |
  • 5A cask for wine, especially as a measure equal to two hogsheads, usually equivalent to 105 gallons (about 477 liters)

    • ‘It subsequently became traditional for certain English families to lay down a pipe of port when a son was born.’
    • ‘The pipe is Portugal's most famous wine measure.’
    • ‘If anyone elected bailiff has in his tavern, on the day of the election, a tun or two pipes of wine, he may be allowed to sell them at a profit after Michaelmas.’
    • ‘This port is put into wooden port barrels or pipes, but instead of just two years in oak as in the case of a declared vintage port, it spends four to six years in barrel.’
    • ‘In the king's name they broached a pipe of the best wine.’


  • 1[with object] Convey (water, gas, oil, or other fluid substances) through a pipe or pipes.

    ‘water from the lakes is piped to several towns’
    • ‘It pipes water to its customers from huge reservoirs encircling Scotland's cities.’
    • ‘I used to cut softwood from shelterbelts on prairie farms but when natural gas was piped out to all farms in the area the demand disappeared.’
    • ‘Fresh water was piped in from the lake behind the settlement and could be tapped into with relative ease, giving Mac the unlimited fresh water that had always been his dream.’
    • ‘The suggested quarry site falls short on both counts, as the available water is full of fine rock particles and piping the water would be an expensive operation.’
    • ‘Plans are being drawn up to pipe water around Scotland as the country heads for its driest spring on record.’
    • ‘North Sea gas was first piped ashore near Durham.’
    • ‘Although methane is piped from oil and gas wells to markets, there are many instances where oil and gas producers don't build transportation infrastructure for the gas.’
    • ‘The city's first electricity was produced by water power from the power station, which is now the Mill pub, and gas was piped from the Gas Works in the St Paul's area of the city.’
    • ‘Houses also had water piped straight to them - unlike flats and apartments.’
    • ‘The water is piped away as vapour via the exhaust system.’
    • ‘From there, the water is piped underground in two distribution systems leading to the bottling plant and about three kilometres through the rest of the camp.’
    • ‘Half of all Russia's oil exports and around 30 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas are annually piped across Belarus to the European Union.’
    • ‘Water was piped from springs to troughs outside the fence for livestock.’
    • ‘Consequently, utility companies need access to capital markets to ensure that potable water is consistently piped into our homes.’
    • ‘A huge underground pipe will be dug surrounding the Millbrook estate, which will pipe the hot water generated by the plant to residents' homes.’
    • ‘A $3 billion project to pipe Arctic gas to southern markets will move ahead after native groups signed a deal with oil producers and builders.’
    • ‘It costs €13 million to pipe the gas from Scotland to Cork.’
    • ‘How can you be confident that when you pipe carbon dioxide underground for storage, that it won't leak?’
    • ‘The resulting methane gas could then be piped ashore.’
    • ‘A plan by the locals to pipe water from the nearby Appila Springs was rejected by the government.’
    convey, channel, siphon, run, feed, lead, bring
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    1. 1.1Transmit (music, a radio or television program, signals, etc.) by wire or cable.
      • ‘You can pipe it directly into the home, reducing transmission and efficiency problems.’
      • ‘As the other girls line up one by one to blubber heartfelt tributes to their departing colleagues, a saccharine melody is piped in over the PA.’
      • ‘Jazzy piano and blues music is piped into every room.’
      • ‘The music will be piped from inside the shop to speakers protected by metal cages outside the store.’
      • ‘Who needs shelves of compact discs, now that 15,000 musical tracks can be piped through cables?’
      • ‘Just how would you pipe that music to every other room in the house?’
      • ‘When tunes are piped in, it is always at a gracious, unintrusive volume, and it is invariably tasteful jazz or even classical.’
      • ‘On the night we visited there was a solo guitarist sitting in the air-conditioned comfort, whose music was piped to the garden section.’
      • ‘Music was piped through the corridors, from reggae to opera.’
      • ‘Unbeknownst to most of the country, a company in London has been using broadband connections via traditional phone lines to pipe television into homes.’
      • ‘A Railtrack representative said some stations were getting facilities to have train information piped through a public address system.’
      • ‘It evokes comfortable leather couches and jazz and bossa nova piped through the speakers.’
      • ‘Moreover, you can pipe music only to one set of speakers at a time.’
      • ‘With American and Russian pop music piped into the walkways and shops, the mall's atmosphere is similar to L.A.'s Beverly Center.’
      • ‘Before the service began, Caribbean-style music was piped from loudspeakers erected outside the church which could be heard several streets away.’
      • ‘Video content piped into homes through the Internet does not face the spectrum constraints of broadcast television.’
      • ‘It is only when you go through to the long, plant-filled conservatory dining room that you realise the music is being piped from a dinner-suited pianist at a grand piano.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the audio pipes out ‘Whistle While You Work’ - not sung, of course, but whistled.’
      • ‘They arranged to have a radio broadcast piped in through the telephone.’
      • ‘We watch the proceedings on TV screens which pipe the pictures from the conference floor several hundred metres away.’
      transmit, feed, lead, patch
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  • 2[with object] Play (a tune) on a pipe or pipes.

    • ‘As the man went by, he piped a song that was as sweet and careless as a bird's.’
    • ‘The Shepherd still pipes a sad tune.’
    • ‘Bag piper Sir Robert Bell piped the tune ‘Highland Cathedral’ as the many uniformed officers saluted their fallen comrade.’
    • ‘Homer speaks of a flute player piping a tune to which men rhythmically stomped grapes.’
    play on a pipe
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    1. 2.1[no object](of a bird) sing in a high or shrill voice.
      • ‘Downy Woodpeckers piped softly in the woods, and a flicker yelped once or twice.’
      • ‘The music was as loud as a hundred thousand songbirds piping in the spring breeze.’
      • ‘Up in the ash-trees the birds piped and sang merrily together.’
      • ‘The robin warbled, and the blackbird piped.’
      • ‘With sandpipers piping on the beach at Monterrey, we find Alison and Elliot at sunset over the Pacific.’
      • ‘‘We could tell you if you like,’ Kris's voice piped in, making me jump.’
      chirp, cheep, chirrup, twitter, chatter, warble, trill, peep, sing, shrill, squeal, squeak
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    2. 2.2[with direct speech]Say something in a high, shrill voice.
      ‘“No, ma'am,” piped Lucy’
      • ‘That is when I, without any thought, piped in with ‘Sir, you can talk to him, he's awake.’’
      • ‘‘Ben Germane's office,’ the whiny voice piped from the other end of the receiver.’
      • ‘‘But we've got four more floors to go,’ she piped.’
      • ‘‘Think about how you'd feel if you lost that kind of money,’ my dad piped in, with that serious, stone-faced look he always does.’
      • ‘‘You're the one girl in town I'd marry, girl, I'd marry you now if I were free,’ he piped, and I vowed to be that one girl.’
      • ‘‘All aboard, ladies and gentlemen,’ he piped cheerfully.’
      • ‘‘Mr Reid,’ she piped in a voice that was a caricature of affability.’
      chirp, cheep, chirrup, twitter, chatter, warble, trill, peep, sing, shrill, squeal, squeak
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    3. 2.3Use a boatswain's whistle to summon (the crew) to work or a meal.
      ‘the hands were piped to breakfast’
      • ‘The crew were piped to supper.’
      • ‘The sailors were piped to quarters.’
      • ‘The vessel was still almost a mile and a half inside Australian waters and then Hands to Boarding Stations was piped.’
      • ‘Sailors were piped to their hammocks around 8:00PM every night’
      • ‘Leave hasn't been piped yet but the excitement of what lies ahead for our visit is growing throughout the ship.’
  • 3[with object] Decorate (clothing or soft furnishings) with a thin cord covered in fabric.

    • ‘This bag sports piped seams and hardware of nickel-plated solid brass for long life and good looks.’
    • ‘When he struck early on December 27 he was wearing black jeans and a navy hooded top piped with red.’
    • ‘Cover a school notebook with a sturdy denim cover piped with orange trim.’
    • ‘I saw a cute little waistcoat in a Burda magazine, done in gingham fabric, piped all around the edges, and on the back was a placket done up with ties.’
    1. 3.1Put (a decorative line or pattern) on a cake or similar dish using icing, whipped cream, etc.
      • ‘To assemble, arrange six amaranth crackers onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and pipe some chocolate cream in the center.’
      • ‘On a flat surface, pipe red chocolate in stripes and spread into a thin layer with an offset spatula.’
      • ‘Using a pastry bag fitted with a medium, plain tip, pipe the dough in a spiral into the bottom of six 4-inch non-stick tart molds.’
      • ‘Place half the croissants on a parchment-lined sheet pan and pipe some almond cream in the center and top each with a remaining croissant.’
      • ‘Spoon into dishes or pipe into wine glasses to serve.’
      • ‘Place three fishcakes on each plate and pipe a line of mayo down each side.’
      • ‘Spoon the flour paste into an icing bag and pipe it into the cross indentations - if you don't have an icing bag or syringe, make the paste loose and dribble it from a teaspoon.’
      • ‘Even the vanilla buttercream piped onto an otherwise agreeable vanilla cupcake had a grainy, crystallized texture on one of my visits, as if the ratio of butter to sugar had gone astray.’
      • ‘The Banoffee Pie was a small disc of salty-sweet crumbs, topped with a smidgen of toffee and banana under a voluminous cloud of piped cream.’
      • ‘Arrange the pasta squares on a flat work surface and pipe the ricotta filling across the bottom half of the squares.’
      • ‘They were followed by duck sweetbreads, each no bigger than a shirt button, served on a tube of piped cream.’
      • ‘To assemble, place the ladyfinger cookies on a parchment-lined sheet pan and pipe some white chocolate mousse onto each.’
      • ‘Lay the four crêpes on a surface and pipe the maple pastry cream into the center of each.’
      • ‘Fill the bag with the roux and pipe long sausages of the mixture on to the tray.’
      • ‘They used lobsters, brandy and cream, piped potatoes into baroque patterns and had a heavy hand with the food colouring.’
      • ‘In minutes, the batter was transformed into a rectangle the size of my head with cavernous divots perfect for piped whipped cream.’
      • ‘Frosting is thick and holds shapes like rosettes and shells like those you see piped around the edges of a birthday cake.’
      • ‘Place the mascarpone cheese in a pastry bag fitted with a medium round up and pipe some cheese in the center of each potato slice.’
      • ‘Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip and pipe into 12 flexible plastic dome molds.’
      • ‘Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.’


  • put that in one's pipe and smoke it

    • informal Used to indicate that someone should accept what one has said, even if it is unwelcome.

      • ‘Three months of Boy Scouts when I was eight cured me of that scene once and for all, and you can put that in your pipe and smoke it, amigo.’
      • ‘I wrote a letter at the beginning suggesting that this was some stuff we found helpful when forming an opinion, and you can put it in your pipe and smoke it and see what it does for you.’
      • ‘Her favorite saying was, ‘Well, put that in your pipe and smoke it,’ after which she would immediately catch herself and tell us not to smoke anything, and then she'd ask us to forget she said that.’
      • ‘Put that in your pipes and smoke it - so as long as you're not in a restaurant in Georgia.’
      • ‘I'm guessing he will have bottled up all that anger in the hope of exacting revenge and being in the position to tell Jimmy to ‘put that in his pipe and smoke it’ or something similar.’
      • ‘When the bar is racked for good, Belcastro growls, ‘Tell Ronnie to put that in his pipe and smoke it.’’
      • ‘Let the other tribeswomen put that in their pipes and smoke it.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • pipe down

    • [often in imperative]Stop talking; be less noisy.

      • ‘They piped down after that and allowed the witness to respond to my questions.’
      • ‘There's wisdom in that old adage about silence being golden, so pipe down a bit while you choose your words carefully.’
      • ‘She piped down when she saw the look on everyone's faces.’
      • ‘This is an election year, and I think we're in desperate trouble and it's time for people to speak up and not pipe down.’
      • ‘There comes a point when you need to pipe down to let someone else talk.’
      • ‘I think everybody who's yelling ‘treason’ should just pipe down.’
      • ‘From here on the doubters began to pipe down and make very rare appearances to throw in their twopence worth.’
      • ‘‘Gentlemen,’ he said, preening his moustache as we eventually piped down.’
      • ‘It's when you turn the camera on him that he pipes down.’
      • ‘I just told her to pipe down.’
      be quiet, quieten down, be silent, fall silent, hush, stop talking, hold one's tongue
      shut up, shut one's face, shut one's gob, shut one's mouth, shut one's trap, button up, button it lip, button one's lip, belt up, wrap up, wrap it up, put a sock in it
      can it
      View synonyms
  • pipe up

    • Say something suddenly.

      • ‘Then Dad's work colleague, Martin, suddenly pipes up, ‘I hear you're following in Geoff's footsteps?’’
      • ‘You're just a few miles into a gruelling car journey and a little voice pipes up: ‘Are we nearly there yet?’’
      • ‘‘You'll adore the cottage,’ George pipes up suddenly.’
      • ‘A voice behind us in the security area pipes up, in a somewhat peeved tone, ‘It may as well be authentic - it's 200 years old!’’
      • ‘‘This just shows his personal agenda,’ Josh pipes up.’
      • ‘‘I've been misquoted on this,’ she pipes up, clearly anxious to set the record straight.’
      • ‘Nicole piped up cheerfully, ‘Besides, I doubt we'll be here forever!’’
      • ‘Somebody else pipes up, ‘How about a cocktail party?’’
      • ‘On the change in attitude on the doorstep, another volunteer pipes up: ‘There's no hostility or abuse this time.’’
      • ‘‘Excuse me,’ Teddy piped up suddenly from the backseat.’


Old English pīpe musical tube pīpian play a pipe of Germanic origin; related to Dutch pijp and German Pfeife, based on Latin pipare to peep, chirp reinforced in Middle English by Old French piper to chirp, squeak.