Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

nipper

[nip-er] /ˈnɪp ər/
noun
1.
a person or thing that nips.
2.
Usually, nippers. a device for nipping, as pincers or forceps.
3.
one of the two large claws of a crustacean.
4.
Metalworking. dog (def 13).
5.
nippers, Older Slang. handcuffs.
6.
Informal.
  1. a small boy.
  2. Chiefly British. a costermonger's helper or assistant.
7.
Nautical. a short rope for seizing an anchor cable to a messenger from a capstan.
Origin of nipper
1525-1535
First recorded in 1525-35; nip1 + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for nippers
Historical Examples
  • Bluenoses have no use for nippers, as Britishers call apprentices.

    All Afloat

    William Wood
  • Also, the cable is brought-to when fastened to the messenger by nippers.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The surging or slipping of the cable when the nippers do not hold.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • To clap on nippers closely, just at starting the anchor from the ground.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • A policeman came in from the street and put the nippers on him.

    Halsey & Co. H. K. Shackleford
  • D—n my heart, if you clap your nippers on me, till I know wherefore!

  • They must go hand in hand manacled to the end, let the nippers gall as they will.

    Iconoclasts

    James Huneker
  • Once more he had recourse to his nippers, and speedily the door was opened.

  • When the cutters attempted to ply their nippers they fell in their tracks, electrocuted.

    The North Pacific Willis Boyd Allen
  • Boy—Keep the nippers on 'em, Casey, or they'll muss up the shop!

    Six One-Act Plays Margaret Scott Oliver
British Dictionary definitions for nippers

nippers

/ˈnɪpəz/
plural noun
1.
an instrument or tool, such as a pair of pliers, for snipping, pinching, or squeezing

nipper

/ˈnɪpə/
noun
1.
a person or thing that nips
2.
the large pincer-like claw of a lobster, crab, or similar crustacean
3.
(informal) a small child
4.
(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for nippers

nipper

n.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for nippers

nippers

noun

Handcuffs: A newly appointed policeman has to buy a pair of nippers (1821+)

nipper

noun

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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for nipper

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for nippers

11
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for nippers