verb (used with object), nipped, nip·ping.

verb (used without object), nipped, nip·ping.

Chiefly British Slang. to leave stealthily; sneak away; flee (often followed by away).



    nip and tuck, with each competitor equaling or closely contesting the speed, scoring, or efforts of the other: It was nip and tuck as to which sailboat would reach port first.
    nip in the bud. bud1(def 13).

Origin of nip

1350–1400; Middle English nyppe to pinch < Old Norse hnippa to poke, thrust

Synonyms for nip Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for nip and tuck

abreast, drawn, level, parallel, tied, head-to-head

British Dictionary definitions for nip and tuck



slang a derogatory word for a Japanese

Word Origin for Nip

C20: short for Nipponese



verb nips, nipping or nipped (mainly tr)

to catch or tightly compress, as between a finger and the thumb; pinch
(often foll by off) to remove by clipping, biting, etc
(when intr, often foll by at) to give a small sharp bite (to)the dog nipped at his heels
(esp of the cold) to affect with a stinging sensation
to harm through coldthe frost nipped the young plants
to check or destroy the growth of (esp in the phrase nip in the bud)
slang to steal
(intr; foll by along, up, out, etc) British informal to hurry; dart
slang, mainly US and Canadian to snatch


the act of nipping; a pinch, snip, etc
  1. a frosty or chilly quality
  2. severe frost or coldthe first nip of winter
a small piece or quantityhe went out for a nip of fresh air
a sharp flavour or tang
archaic a taunting remark
nip and tuck
  1. mainly US and Canadianneck and neck
  2. informalplastic surgery performed for cosmetic reasons
put the nips in Australian and NZ slang to exert pressure on someone, esp in order to extort money

Word Origin for nip

C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse hnippa to prod




a small drink of spirits; dram
mainly British a measure of spirits usually equal to one sixth of a gill

verb nips, nipping or nipped

to drink (spirits), esp habitually in small amounts

Word Origin for nip

C18: shortened from nipperkin a vessel holding a half-pint or less, of uncertain origin; compare Dutch nippen to sip
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 nip and tuck



"a pinch; a sharp bite," 1540s, from nip (v.). Meaning "a chill in the weather" is from 1610s, probably so called for its effect on vegetation. Nip and tuck "a close thing" is recorded from 1832, perhaps from sailing or tailoring.



"to pinch sharply; to bite suddenly," late 14c., related to Middle Low German nipen "to nip, to pinch," Middle Dutch nipen "to pinch," Dutch nijpen, Old Norse hnippa "to prod," but the exact evolution of the stem is obscure. Related: Nipped; nipping. To nip (something) in the bud in the figurative sense is first recorded c.1600.



"small measure of spirits," 1796, shortening of nipperkin (1670s) "quantity of liquor of a half pint or less," possibly of Dutch or Low German origin and related to nip (v.). Reinforced by nip (n.2) on notion of "fragment or bit pinched off" (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nip and tuck in Culture

nip and tuck

Closely contested; neck and neck: “It was nip and tuck there for a while, but our team finally pulled through.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with nip and tuck

nip and tuck

Very close so that the advantage or lead of competitors keeps shifting, as in It was nip and tuck whether they would deal with the bill before Congress adjourned. The precise allusion in this term has been lost. [Early 1800s] Also see neck and neck.

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