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  1. one of the spots on dice, playing cards, or dominoes.
  2. each of the small segments into which the surface of a pineapple is divided.
  3. Informal. metal insigne of rank on the shoulders of commissioned officers.
  4. Horticulture.
    1. an individual rootstock of a plant, especially of the lily of the valley.
    2. a portion of the rootstock or root of several other plants, as the peony.

Origin of pip1

First recorded in 1590–1600; earlier peep; origin uncertain


  1. Veterinary Pathology. a contagious disease of birds, especially poultry, characterized by the secretion of a thick mucus in the mouth and throat.
  2. Facetious. any minor or unspecified ailment in a person.

Origin of pip2

1375–1425; late Middle English pippe < Middle Dutch < Vulgar Latin *pipita, for Latin pītuīta phlegm, pip


  1. a small seed, especially of a fleshy fruit, as an apple or orange.
  2. Also called pipperoo. Informal. someone or something wonderful: Last night's party was a pip.

Origin of pip3

1590–1600; 1910–15 for def 2; short for pippin


verb (used without object), pipped, pip·ping.
  1. to peep or chirp.
  2. (of a young bird) to break out from the shell.
verb (used with object), pipped, pip·ping.
  1. to crack or chip a hole through (the shell), as a young bird.

Origin of pip4

First recorded in 1650–60; variant of peep2


noun Electronics.
  1. blip(def 1).

Origin of pip5

First recorded in 1940–45; imitative


verb (used with object), pipped, pip·ping. British Slang.
  1. to blackball.
  2. to defeat (an opponent).
  3. to shoot, especially to wound or kill by a gunshot.

Origin of pip6

1875–80; perhaps special use of pip1, in metaphorical sense of a small ball


  1. a male given name, form of Philip.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pip

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Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for pip


  1. the seed of a fleshy fruit, such as an apple or pear
  2. any of the segments marking the surface of a pineapple
  3. a rootstock or flower of the lily of the valley or certain other plants

Word Origin

C18: short for pippin


  1. a short high-pitched sound, a sequence of which can act as a time signal, esp on radio
  2. a radar blip
    1. a spot or single device, such as a spade, diamond, heart, or club on a playing card
    2. any of the spots on dice or dominoes
  3. Also called: star informal the emblem worn on the shoulder by junior officers in the British Army, indicating their rank
verb pips, pipping or pipped
  1. (of a young bird)
    1. (intr)to chirp; peep
    2. to pierce (the shell of its egg) while hatching
  2. (intr) to make a short high-pitched sound

Word Origin

C16 (in the sense: spot or speck); C17 (vb); C20 (in the sense: short high-pitched sound): of obscure, probably imitative origin; senses 1 and 5 are probably related to peep ²


  1. a contagious disease of poultry characterized by the secretion of thick mucus in the mouth and throat
  2. facetious, slang a minor human ailment
  3. British, Australian, NZ and Southern African slang a bad temper or depression (esp in the phrase give (someone) the pip)
  4. get the pip or have the pip NZ informal to sulk
verb pips, pipping or pipped
  1. British slang to cause to be annoyed or depressed

Word Origin

C15: from Middle Dutch pippe, ultimately from Latin pituita phlegm; see pituitary


verb pips, pipping or pipped (tr) British slang
  1. to wound or kill, esp with a gun
  2. to defeat (a person), esp when his success seems certain (often in the phrase pip at the post)
  3. to blackball or ostracize

Word Origin

C19 (originally in the sense: to blackball): probably from pip ²
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

Word Origin and History for pip


"seed of an apple," 1797, shortened form of pipin "seed of a fleshy fruit" (early 14c.), from Old French pepin (13c.), probably from a root *pipp-, expressing smallness (cf. Italian pippolo, Spanish pepita "seed, kernel").


"disease of birds," late 14c., probably from Middle Dutch pippe "mucus," from West Germanic *pipit (cf. East Frisian pip, Middle High German pfipfiz, German Pips), an early borrowing from Vulgar Latin *pippita, unexplained alteration of Latin pituita "phlegm" (see pituitary).


"spot on a playing card, etc." c.1600, peep, of unknown origin. Because of the original form, it is not considered as connected to pip (n.1). Related: Pips.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper