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[nip-er] /ˈnɪp ər/
a person or thing that nips.
Usually, nippers. a device for nipping, as pincers or forceps.
one of the two large claws of a crustacean.
Metalworking. dog (def 13).
nippers, Older Slang. handcuffs.
  1. a small boy.
  2. Chiefly British. a costermonger's helper or assistant.
Nautical. a short rope for seizing an anchor cable to a messenger from a capstan.
Origin of nipper
First recorded in 1525-35; nip1 + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nipper
Historical Examples
  • I learnt to swim when I was a little bit of a nipper and went with the boys at school.

    Jack at Sea George Manville Fenn
  • "Blessed if I ever see such a nipper," he said, over and over again.

    Harding's luck E. [Edith] Nesbit
  • Why, when I was a nipper every morning of my life I had a cold bath, winter and summer.

    Dubliners James Joyce
  • Mr. nipper, the boatswain, sir, the last shot has cut him in two.

  • Rest easy a spell, nipper, and I'll rest too, and listen how he does that.

    Pippin; A Wandering Flame Laura E. Richards
  • You speak as if it were some one I knew, yet you wrote me that nipper Crewe died.

    Pippin; A Wandering Flame Laura E. Richards
  • Why, we've been—not to say pals, nipper, but we sat side by each for a matter of a year.

    Pippin; A Wandering Flame Laura E. Richards
  • Hear him laffin' fit to bust when I told him nipper was dead!

    Pippin; A Wandering Flame Laura E. Richards
  • An' don't fink that I was fergettin' the nipper—'cos I wasn't.

  • Dyou think you know more about fowls than I, who have handled them ever since I was a nipper?

British Dictionary definitions for nipper


a person or thing that nips
the large pincer-like claw of a lobster, crab, or similar crustacean
(informal) a small child
(Austral) a type of small prawn used as bait
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 nipper

"small boy," 1859, originally (1530s) a pickpocket who "pinched" other people's property; see nip (v.).

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



A small boy; lad •In British dialect, the youngest child of a family: warning that America's nippers are turning into microchip golem

[1859+; perhaps because he nips, ''moves quickly'']

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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