[ nik ]
See synonyms for nick on
  1. a small notch, groove, chip, or the like, cut into or existing in something.

  2. a hollow place produced in an edge or surface, as of a dish, by breaking, chipping, or the like: I didn't notice those tiny nicks in the vase when I bought it.

  1. a small dent or wound.

  2. a small groove on one side of the shank of a printing type, serving as a guide in setting or to distinguish different types.

  3. Biochemistry. a break in one strand of a double-stranded DNA or RNA molecule.

  4. British Slang. prison.

verb (used with object)
  1. to cut into or through: I nicked my chin while shaving.

  2. to hit or injure slightly.

  1. to make a nick or nicks in (something); notch, groove, or chip.

  2. to record by means of a notch or notches.

  3. to incise certain tendons at the root of (a horse's tail) to give it a higher carrying position; make an incision under the tail of (a horse).

  4. to hit, guess, catch, etc., exactly.

  5. Slang. to trick, cheat, or defraud: How much did they nick you for that suit?

  6. British Slang.

    • to arrest (a criminal or suspect).

    • to capture; nab.

    • to steal: Someone nicked her pocketbook on the bus.

Idioms about nick

  1. in the nick of time, at the right or vital moment, usually at the last possible moment: The fire engines arrived in the nick of time.

Origin of nick

1475–85; obscurely akin to Old English gehnycned wrinkled, Old Norse hnykla to wrinkle

Other words from nick

  • un·nicked, adjective

Words Nearby nick

Other definitions for Nick (2 of 2)

[ nik ]

  1. a male given name, form of Nicholas. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use nick in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for nick (1 of 2)


/ (nɪk) /

  1. a small notch or indentation on an edge or surface

  2. a groove on the shank of a printing type, used to orientate type and often to distinguish the fount

  1. British a slang word for prison, police station

  2. in good nick informal in good condition

  3. in the nick of time at the last possible moment; at the critical moment

  1. (tr) to chip or cut

  2. (tr) slang, mainly British

    • to steal

    • to take into legal custody; arrest

  1. (intr often foll by off) informal to move or depart rapidly

  2. to divide and reset (certain of the tail muscles of a horse) to give the tail a high carriage

  3. (tr) to guess, catch, etc, exactly

  4. (intr) (of breeding stock) to mate satisfactorily

  5. nick someone for US and Canadian slang to defraud someone to the extent of

Origin of nick

C15: perhaps changed from C14 nocke nock

British Dictionary definitions for nick (2 of 2)


/ (nɪk) /

  1. computing an alias adopted by a member of a chatroom or forum; nickname

Origin of nick

short for nickname

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with nick


see in the nick of time.

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