English edit

A woman's breasts, with the nipple (sense 1) indicated.
a pipe nipple (connector, sense 7)
spoke nipples (sense 8)
nipple (sense 9) on a laptop keyboard

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From earlier neple, nypil, neble, believed to be a diminutive of nib, neb (tip, point), equivalent to nib +‎ -le. Compare Old English nypel (elephant trunk), formed analogously as "a protuberance from one's neb" .

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈnɪ.p(ə)l/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪpəl

Noun edit

nipple (plural nipples)

  1. (anatomy) The projection of a mammary gland from which, on female mammals, milk is secreted. [from 16th c.]
    Synonyms: tit; see also Thesaurus:nipples
  2. A mechanical device through which liquids or gases can be passed in a regulated manner. [from 16th c.]
  3. An artificial nipple (definition 1) used for bottle-feeding infants. [from 17th c.]
    Synonym: teat
  4. Any small physical protrusion, such as the lumps on the F and J keys on computer keyboards.
  5. Any small physical protrusion on an automotive, a machine part or any other part that fits into a groove on another part.
  6. (now chiefly historical) A perforated segment that fits into part of the breech of a muzzle-loading gun, on which the percussion cap is fixed. [from 19th c.]
    • 2013, Philipp Meyer, The Son, Simon & Schuster, published 2014, page 23:
      I could tell he didn't agree but he went to the corner and took up his squirrel gun, feeling the nipple for a percussion cap.
  7. (plumbing, chiefly US) A short tube threaded at both ends, used as a connector. [from 19th c.]
  8. (cycling) An internally threaded piece which holds a bicycle spoke in place on the rim. [from 20th c.]
    Turn the nipples on to the bicycle spokes only one turn, for each spoke on the new wheel all the way around until they are all snug, then check alignment.
  9. (computing, humorous) A pointing stick.

Derived terms edit

Descendants edit

  • Dutch: nippel
  • German: Nippel
  • Norwegian: nippel

Translations edit

Verb edit

nipple (third-person singular simple present nipples, present participle nippling, simple past and past participle nippled)

  1. (transitive) To fit (a baby's bottle, etc.) with a nipple.
  2. (transitive) To give one's nipple to (a baby) to allow breastfeeding.

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit

Yola edit

Noun edit


  1. Diminutive of neape
      Nipple is a diminutive of nape or neap.

References edit

  • Jacob Poole (d. 1827) (before 1828) William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, published 1867, page 59