Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for nip in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)
nip (plural nips)
- A small quantity of something edible or a potable liquor.
- I’ll just take a nip of that cake.
- He had a nip of whiskey.
nip (plural nips)
From Middle English nippen, probably a byform of earlier *knippen (suggested by the derivative Middle English knippette (“pincers”)), related to Dutch nijpen, knijpen (“to pinch”), Danish nive (“pinch”); Swedish nypa (“pinch”); Low German knipen; German kneipen and kneifen (“to pinch, cut off, nip”), Old Norse hnippa (“to prod, poke”); Lithuanian knebti.
- To catch and enclose or compress tightly between two surfaces, or points which are brought together or closed; to pinch; to close in upon.
1859, Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King, Merlin and Vivien:
- May this hard earth cleave to the Nadir hell, Down, down, and close again, and nip me flat, If I be such a traitress.
- To remove by pinching, biting, or cutting with two meeting edges of anything; to clip.
1716, John Mortimer, The Whole Art of Husbandry:
- The small shoots ... must be nipt off.
- To blast, as by frost; to check the growth or vigor of; to destroy.
- To annoy, as by nipping.
1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene:
- And sharp remorse his heart did prick and nip.
- To taunt.
- (Scotland, Northern England) To squeeze or pinch.
- (obsolete, Britain, thieves' cant) To steal; especially to cut a purse.
1611, Middleton, Thomas, “The Roaring Girl”, in Bullen, Arthur Henry, editor, The Works of Thomas Middleton, volume 4, published 1885, Act 5, Scene 1, pages 128–129:
- Ben mort, shall you and I heave a bough, mill a ken, or nip a bung, and then we'll couch a hogshead under the ruffmans, and there you shall wap with me, and I'll niggle with you.
nip (plural nips)
- A playful bite.
- The puppy gave his owner’s finger a nip.
- A pinch with the nails or teeth.
- Briskly cold weather.
- There is a nip in the air. It is nippy outside.
- A seizing or closing in upon; a pinching
- the nip of masses of ice.
- A small cut, or a cutting off the end.
- A blast; a killing of the ends of plants by frost.
- A biting sarcasm; a taunt.
- (nautical) A short turn in a rope.
- (papermaking) The place of intersection where one roll touches another
- (obsolete, Britain, thieves' cant) A pickpocket.
1977, Gãmini Salgãdo, The Elizabethan Underworld, Folio Society, published 2006, page 27:
- A novice nip, newly arrived in London, went one afternoon to the Red Bull in Bishopsgate, an inn converted to a playhouse.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
- To make a quick, short journey or errand, usually a round trip.
- Why don’t you nip down to the grocer’s for some milk?
From Proto-Albanian *nepō, from Proto-Indo-European *népōt (“grandson, nephew”). Cognate to Latin nepos (“grandson”) and Sanskrit नपात् (nápat-, “grandson”). Assumption of a Latin loanword, as proposed by others, is uncertain, but reinforcement/influence by Latin is also possible.