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nip 1 (nĭp)
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v. nipped, nip·ping, nips
v.tr.
1. To seize and pinch or bite: The fish nipped the wader's toe.
2. To remove or sever by pinching or snipping: nipped off the plant leaf.
3. To bite or sting with the cold; chill.
4. To check or cut off the growth or development of: a conspiracy that was nipped in the bud by the police.
5. Slang
a. To snatch up hastily.
b. To take (the property of another) unlawfully; steal.
v.intr.
Chiefly British
To move quickly; dart.
n.
1. The act or an instance of seizing or pinching.
2.
a. A pinch or snip that cuts off or removes a small part: He gave a small nip to each corner of the cloth.
b. The small bit or portion so removed: There were nips of construction paper all over the child's table.
3.
a. A sharp, stinging quality, as of frosty air.
b. Severely sharp cold or frost.
4. A cutting remark.
5. A sharp, biting flavor; a tang: the nip of Mexican salsa.

[Middle English nippen, perhaps from Middle Dutch nipen.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
nip 2 (nĭp) Informal
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n.
A small amount of liquor.
v. nipped, nip·ping, nips
v.tr.
To sip (alcoholic liquor) in small amounts: had been nipping brandy.
v.intr.
To take a sip or sips of alcoholic liquor: nips all day long.

[Probably short for nipperkin, of Dutch or Low German origin.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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