- to squeeze or compress tightly between two surfaces or points; pinch; bite.
- to take off by pinching, biting, or snipping (usually followed by off): He nipped off a piece of steak and gave it to the dog.
- to check in growth or development.
- to affect sharply and painfully or injuriously, as a very cold temperature: a cold wind that nips the fingers.
- Informal. to snatch away suddenly.
- Informal. to defeat (an opponent) by a very close margin; edge.
- Informal. to steal or pilfer.
- (of ice) to press (a ship) from opposite sides.
- to seize (a taut rope) to another rope.
- Chiefly British Slang. to leave stealthily; sneak away; flee (often followed by away).
- an act of nipping; a pinch or small bite: The dog took several nips at our heels.
- a biting quality, as in cold or frosty air: There's a nip in the air this morning.
- sharp cold; a sharp touch of frost: The trees had felt the first nip of winter.
- a sharp or biting remark.
- a biting taste or tang, especially in some cheese.
- a small bit or quantity of anything: a nip of bread to stave off hunger.
- an abrupt turn or twist in a rope.
- a part of a rope or chain bound by a seizing or nipper.
- Usually nips. nipper(def 2).
- 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 nip1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for nip on Thesaurus.com
- slang a derogatory word for a Japanese
- 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
- a frosty or chilly quality
- 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
- mainly US and Canadianneck and neck
- 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
- a small drink of spirits; dram
- mainly British a measure of spirits usually equal to one sixth of a gill
- to drink (spirits), esp habitually in small amounts
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).
nip and tuck
Closely contested; neck and neck: “It was nip and tuck there for a while, but our team finally pulled through.”
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.