adjective, nip·pi·er, nip·pi·est.

chilly or cold: morning air that feels a bit nippy.
sharp or biting; tangy: This cheese has a good, nippy taste.
Chiefly British Informal. nimble; agile.

Origin of nippy

First recorded in 1565–75; nip1 + -y1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for nippy

biting, brisk, cold, crisp, cutting, freezing, sharp

Examples from the Web for nippy

Contemporary Examples of nippy

Historical Examples of nippy

  • The wind was in their faces, such wind as there was, and the air was keen and nippy.

  • Would have liked to have warned you the other night, but Bacon was too nippy.

    To Love

    Margaret Peterson

  • Right in front of him was Nippy, worrying the wriggling tail with her sharp teeth like a little terrier.

    Wild Folk

    Samuel Scoville

  • They carry the mail over vast, snowy wildernesses, and even sometimes to Dawson, when the air is not too nippy.

  • Efter a while I felt a bit sleepy; 'twere t' nippy air, an' mebbe t' seet o' t' fallin' watter dazed my een.

British Dictionary definitions for nippy


adjective -pier or -piest

(of weather) chilly, keen, or frosty
British informal
  1. quick; nimble; active
  2. (of a motor vehicle) small and relatively powerful
(of the taste of food) biting, sharp, or pungent
(of a dog) inclined to bite
Derived Formsnippily, adverbnippiness, noun
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 nippy

1898, in reference to a "biting" chill in the air, from nip (n.2) + -y (2). Related: Nippiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper