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Date: 1300-1400
Language: Middle Low German
Origin: nipen

nip

1 verb
     
nip1 past tense and past participle nipped, present participle nipping
1 [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] British English informal to go somewhere quickly or for a short time [= pop]:
Have we time to nip down the pub for a quick drink?
Another car nipped in (=moved quickly into a space) in front of me.
I've got to nip home and change my clothes.
2 [intransitive and transitive] to bite someone or something lightly:
She gently nipped the lobe of his ear.
nip at
The fish swam all around her and nipped at her legs.
3

nip something in the bud

to prevent something from becoming a problem by stopping it as soon as it starts:
Try to nip this kind of bad behaviour in the bud.
4 [transitive] British English to suddenly and quickly press something tightly between two fingers, edges, or surfaces [↪ pinch]:
Sally nipped her cheeks to make them look less pale.
He nipped his finger in the door.
5 [intransitive and transitive] written if cold weather or the wind nips at part of your body or at a plant, it hurts or damages it
nip at
The frost nipped at our fingers.

nip something ↔ off

phrasal verb
DLG to remove a small part of something, especially a plant, by pressing it tightly between your finger and thumb:
She nipped off a dead flower.

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