• synonyms


See more synonyms for nibs on Thesaurus.com
  1. his/her nibs, Informal: Often Facetious. a person in authority, especially one who is demanding and tyrannical: His nibs wants fresh strawberries in December.
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Origin of nibs

First recorded in 1815–25; origin uncertain


  1. the point of a pen, or either of its divisions.
  2. a penpoint for insertion into a penholder.
  3. a point of anything: a cutting tool with a diamond nib.
  4. a bill or beak, as of a bird; neb.
  5. any pointed extremity.
  6. Metallurgy.
    1. a piece of sintered tungsten carbide used as a die for drawing wire or the like.
    2. (in powder metallurgy) a compact at any stage of its manufacture.
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Origin of nib

1575–85; perhaps variant of neb; compare Dutch nib, Middle Low German nibbe (variant of nebbe) beak, Old Norse nibba sharp point. See nibble
Related formsnib·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

stick, marker, snout, hue, tint, tone, coloration, vestige, relic, speck, particle, whiff, fragment, smell, hint, element, strain, touch, remnant, shred

Examples from the Web for nibs

Historical Examples

  • There was a pen the nibs of which were of ruby, set in gold, made by Doughty.

    The Story of the Invention of Steel Pens

    Henry Bore

  • Make half-a-pint of cocoa from the nibs, taking care to have it clear.

  • "He's broken the nibs," growled Ab., coming back with the pen.

  • The two tiny drawers in which she kept stamps and nibs were out and emptied.

    The Green Rust

    Edgar Wallace

  • Well, while His Nibs is absorbing the bad news, we'll go over this once more.

    Skylark Three

    Edward Elmer Smith

British Dictionary definitions for nibs


  1. his nibs (functioning as singular) slang a mock title used of someone in authority
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Word Origin

C19: of unknown origin


  1. the writing point of a pen, esp an insertable tapered metal part with a split tip
  2. a point, tip, or beak
  3. (plural) crushed cocoa beans
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verb nibs, nibbing or nibbed (tr)
  1. to provide with a nib
  2. to prepare or sharpen the nib of
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Derived Formsniblike, adjective

Word Origin

C16 (in the sense: beak): origin obscure; compare Northern German nibbe tip. See neb, nibble
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 nibs


especially in His Nibs "boss, employer, self-important person," 1821, of unknown origin; perhaps a variant of nob "person of high position."

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1580s, "beak or bill of a bird," Scottish variant of Old English neb (see neb). Meaning "point" (of a pen or quill) first recorded 1610s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nibs in Medicine


  1. The smooth or serrated portion of a dental instrument that comes into contact with restorative material being condensed.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.