View synonyms for lip



[ lip ]


  1. either of the two fleshy parts or folds forming the margins of the mouth and functioning in speech.
  2. Usually lips. these parts as organs of speech:

    I heard it from his own lips.

  3. She usually wears a dramatic red lip.

  4. a projecting edge on a container or other hollow object:

    the lip of a pitcher.

  5. a liplike part or structure, especially of anatomy.
  6. any edge or rim.
  7. the edge of an opening or cavity, as of a canyon or a wound:

    the lip of the crater.

  8. Slang. impudent talk; back talk:

    Don't give me any of your lip.

  9. Botany. either of the two parts into which the corolla or calyx of certain plants, especially of the mint family, is divided.
  10. Zoology.
    1. a labium.
    2. the outer or the inner margin of the aperture of a gastropod's shell.
  11. Music. the position and arrangement of lips and tongue in playing a wind instrument; embouchure.
  12. the cutting edge of a tool.
  13. the blade, at the end of an auger, which cuts the chip after it has been circumscribed by the spur.
  14. (in a twist drill) the cutting edge at the bottom of each flute.


  1. of or relating to the lips or a lip:

    lip ointment.

  2. characterized by or made with the lips:

    to read lip movements.

  3. superficial or insincere:

    to offer lip praise.

verb (used with object)

, lipped, lip·ping.
  1. to touch with the lips.
  2. Golf. to hit the ball over the rim of (the hole).
  3. to utter, especially softly.
  4. to kiss.

verb (used without object)

, lipped, lip·ping.
  1. to use the lips in playing a musical wind instrument.

verb phrase

  1. Slang. to talk impudently or belligerently.


  1. variant of lipo- 1 before a vowel:

    lipectomy, libase, lipemia.




  1. a variant of lipo-
“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



/ lɪp /


  1. anatomy
    1. either of the two fleshy folds surrounding the mouth, playing an important role in the production of speech sounds, retaining food in the mouth, etc labial
    2. ( as modifier )

      lip salve

  2. the corresponding part in animals, esp mammals
  3. any structure resembling a lip, such as the rim of a crater, the margin of a gastropod shell, etc
  4. a nontechnical word for labium labellum
  5. slang.
    impudent talk or backchat
  6. the embouchure and control in the lips needed to blow wind and brass instruments
  7. bite one's lip
    1. to stifle one's feelings
    2. to be annoyed or irritated
  8. button one's lip or button up one's lip slang.
    to stop talking: often imperative
  9. keep a stiff upper lip
    to maintain one's courage or composure during a time of trouble without giving way to or revealing one's emotions
  10. lick one's lips or smack one's lips
    to anticipate or recall something with glee or relish
“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


  1. tr to touch with the lip or lips
  2. tr to form or be a lip or lips for
  3. rare.
    tr to murmur or whisper
  4. intr to use the lips in playing a wind instrument
“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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Derived Forms

  • ˈlipˌlike, adjective
  • ˈlipless, adjective
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Other Words From

  • lip·less adjective
  • lip·like adjective
  • out·lip verb (used with object) outlipped outlipping
  • un·der·lip noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of lip1

First recorded before 1000; Middle English lip(pe), Old English lippa; cognate with Dutch lip, German Lippe; akin to Norwegian lepe, Latin labium
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Word History and Origins

Origin of lip1

Old English lippa; related to Old High German leffur, Norwegian lepe, Latin labium
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. bite one's lip / tongue, to repress one's anger or other emotions:

    He wanted to return the insult, but bit his lip.

  2. button one's lip, Slang. to keep silent, especially, to refrain from revealing information: Also button up.

    They told him to button his lip if he didn't want trouble.

  3. hang on the lips of, to listen to very attentively:

    The members of the club hung on the lips of the visiting lecturer.

  4. keep a stiff upper lip,
    1. to face misfortune bravely and resolutely:

      Throughout the crisis they kept a stiff upper lip.

    2. to suppress the display of any emotion.
  5. smack one's lips, to indicate one's keen enjoyment or pleasurable anticipation of:

    We smacked our lips over the delicious meal.

More idioms and phrases containing lip

  • button up (one's lip)
  • keep a stiff upper lip
  • lick one's chops (lips)
  • pass one's lips
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Example Sentences

Ney said McDonnell needs to “keep a stiff lip” and stay in close contact with family members.

She narrowed her eyes, bit her lip as if to chew over the question, and whisked some stray blond hairs away from her face.

The higher your score, the more likely it is that you can lip-sync along to the “Checkers” Speech.

If only Sulzberger had managed to keep a zipped upper lip while leaving the dirty work to anonymous underlings.

Earlier in the year, TMZ alleged, citing a police report, that a hotel room spat between the two left Nicki with a busted lip.

He paled a little, and sucked his lip, his eyes wandering to the girl, who stood in stolid inapprehension of what was being said.

The eyebrows were low and thick, the upper lip was sensitive, quivering sometimes as she talked, but the lower was firm and full.

Ze under lip rather retires, and this adds to the receding effect of the chin, you see.

Louis turned at the exclamation, and looked on the faithful servant; but no tear was in his eye, no sound on his lip.

A huge piece of black court plaister hid the wound on his swollen lip, a cup of tisane stood upon the table.


Related Words

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Words That Use Lip-

What does lip- mean?

Lip- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “fat.” It is used in many scientific and medical terms.

Lip- comes from the Greek lípos, meaning “fat.” It is not related to lip, as in the part of the mouth; that word is actually connected to the combining form labio-. The combining form lip- is also not to be confused with a second sense of lipo- meaning “lacking” or “leaving.”

Lip- is a variant of lipo-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use lipo- article. You can also learn about the “lacking” sense of lipo- in this article.

Examples of lip-

A word you may have encountered that features the combining form lip- is lipid, “any of a group of organic compounds that are greasy to the touch, insoluble in water, and soluble in alcohol and ether.” In everyday language, it is often used as a synonym for “fat.”

The first part of the word, lip-, means “fat.” The second part of the word, -id, is a variant of -ide, which is used to indicate chemical compounds. Lipid literally translates to “fatty chemical.”

What are some words that use or are related to the combining form lip-?

What are some other forms that lip- may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form ectomy means “excision, removal.” With this in mind, what does the medical procedure of a lipectomy involve?

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.