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[blip] /blɪp/
Also called pip. Electronics.
  1. a spot of light on a radar screen indicating the position of a plane, submarine, or other object.
  2. (loosely) any small spot of light on a display screen.
a brief upturn, as in revenue or income:
The midwinter blip was no cause for optimism among store owners.
anything small, as in amount or number:
a blip of light; Those opposed were merely a blip in the opinion polls.
bleep (def 3).
Slang. a nickel; five cents.
Movies. a mark of synchronization on a sound track.
a small or brief interruption, as in the continuity of a motion-picture film or the supply of light or electricity:
There were blips in the TV film where the commercials had been edited out.
verb (used without object), blipped, blipping.
Informal. to move or proceed in short, irregular, jerking movements:
The stock market has blipped one point higher this week.
verb (used with object), blipped, blipping.
bleep (def 5).
Origin of blip
1890-95, for an earlier sense; sound symbolism, with p for brevity and abrupt end of the impulse; bl- perhaps from blink Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for blips
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Within seconds, the three blips met on the screen and fused into a single spot of light.

  • A couple of the blips were over the ocean way south of England and they were trying to contact them by radio to reorient them.

  • This prevented them from showing up as blips on the giant detector radarscope mounted on the main building.

  • Green streaks called "blips" marked the panel, each one indicating an asteroid.

    Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet Harold Leland Goodwin
  • The twenty odd crates, some of them taking up an orbital relationship with the vessel, were blips on the screen.

    Spillthrough Daniel F. Galouye
  • Carefully he scanned the sky and sea, watching the green-mottled screen for blips.

    Way of a Rebel Walter M. Miller
  • But the blips on the radarscope showed that the planes were coming steadily closer.

British Dictionary definitions for blips


a repetitive sound, such as that produced by an electronic device, by dripping water, etc
Also called pip. the spot of light or a sharply peaked pulse on a radar screen indicating the position of an object
a temporary irregularity recorded in performance of something
verb blips, blipping, blipped
(intransitive) to produce such a noise
Word Origin
C20: of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for blips



1894, in reference to a kind of popping sound, of echoic origin. Radar screen sense is from 1945. As a verb from 1924. Related: Blipped; blipping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for blips



  1. Excellent; very good (1930s+ Jive talk)
  2. hip (1950s+ Cool talk)


  1. A luminous signal on a radar screen: Birds can cause blips on radar screens (1940s+)
  2. A rapid increase and decrease; quick peaking: The bond bulls argue that commodities' rally is a blip/ despite temporary blips up and down (1980s+)


  1. To encroach upon, as one aircraft's image on a radar screen might enter the territory of another aircraft: Cartridge-makers blip into Atari's airspace, attracted by the enormous profit potential (1980s+)
  2. To censor a taped word or passage by erasing it electronically from the tape and substituting a ''bleep'': Occasionally Mr Carson's lines are ''blipped'' (1960s+)

[most senses fr earlier blip, ''a sharp blow or twitch'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for blips


Benthic Layer Interactive Profiling System
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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