verb (used with object), sipped, sip·ping.

to drink (a liquid) a little at a time; take small tastes of: He sipped the hot tea noisily.
to drink from a little at a time: The bird sipped the flower.
to take in; absorb: to sip knowledge at its source.

verb (used without object), sipped, sip·ping.

to drink by sips.


an instance of sipping; a small taste of a liquid: One sip told me that the milk was sour.
a small quantity taken by sipping: Take just a sip, not a gulp or a swallow.

Origin of sip

1350–1400; Middle English sippen (v.), akin to Low German sippen to sip
Related formssip·ping·ly, adverbun·sipped, adjective

Synonym study

1. See drink. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sipping

savor, imbibe, quaff, taste, toss, partake, sample, sup, swallow, extract

Examples from the Web for sipping

Contemporary Examples of sipping

Historical Examples of sipping

  • So it is with war, and the quality of both is best discovered by sipping.

  • "I do not quite understand," returned the uncle, sipping his coffee.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • Like a bee over a flower-bed, I went dipping and sipping at my treasure.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • Only when he had dined slowly and was sipping his black coffee did they attract his attention.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • Belle sipping the hot, comforting drink looked about her curiously.


    James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for sipping


verb sips, sipping or sipped

to drink (a liquid) by taking small mouthfuls; drink gingerly or delicately


a small quantity of a liquid taken into the mouth and swallowed
an act of sipping
Derived Formssipper, noun

Word Origin for sip

C14: probably from Low German sippen
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 sipping



late 14c., of uncertain origin, perhaps from a source related to Low German sippen "to sip," or from Old English sypian "absorb, drink in," related to supan "to take into the mouth a little at a time" (see sup (v.2)). Related: Sipped; sipping.



c.1500, from sip (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper