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dipper

[dip-er] /ˈdɪp ər/
noun
1.
a person or thing that dips.
2.
a cuplike container with a long handle, used for dipping liquids.
3.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy.
  1. Big Dipper.
  2. Little Dipper.
4.
Ornithology. Also called water ouzel. any small, stocky diving bird of the family Cinclidae, related to the thrushes, especially Cinclus aquaticus of Europe and C. mexicanus of western North America, having dense, oilyplumage and frequenting rapid streams and rivers.
5.
South Midland and Southern U.S. a person who uses snuff.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English: diving bird; see dip, -er1

Little Dipper

noun, Astronomy
1.
the group of seven bright stars in Ursa Minor resembling a dipper in outline.
Also called Dipper.
Origin
1835-45

Big Dipper

noun, Astronomy
1.
the group of seven bright stars in Ursa Major resembling a dipper in outline.
Also called Dipper.
Origin
1865-70
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for dippers

dipper

/ˈdɪpə/
noun
1.
a ladle used for dipping
2.
Also called water ouzel. any aquatic songbird of the genus Cinclus and family Cinclidae, esp C. cinclus. They inhabit fast-flowing streams and resemble large wrens
3.
a slang word for pickpocket
4.
a person or thing that dips, such as the mechanism for directing car headlights downwards
5.
a small metal cup clipped onto a painter's palette for holding diluent or medium
6.
(archaic) an Anabaptist
See also big dipper

Little Dipper

noun
1.
(US & Canadian) the Little Dipper, a small faint constellation, the brightest star of which is the Pole Star, lying 1° from the true celestial pole Also known as Ursa Minor, the Bear, the Little Bear

big dipper

noun
1.
(in amusement parks) a narrow railway with open carriages that run swiftly over a route of sharp curves and steep inclines Also called roller coaster

Big Dipper

noun
1.
the US and Canadian name for Plough
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
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Word Origin and History for dippers

Big Dipper

n.

American English name for the seven-star asterism (known in England as the plough; see Charles's Wain) in the constellation Ursa Major, first attested 1833 as simply the Dipper (sometimes Great Dipper, its companion constellation always being the Little Dipper). See dipper.

dipper

n.

late 14c., as a type of diving bird, agent noun from dip (v.). As a ladle or long-handled utensil for drawing liquid, from 1783, chiefly American English. As the popular U.S. name for the asterism known in Britain as The Plough or Charles' Wain, attested by 1833.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dippers in Science
Big Dipper  
An asterism composed of seven stars in the constellation Ursa Major. Four stars form the bowl and three form the handle in the outline of a dipper.
Little Dipper
  (lĭt'l)   
An asterism composed of seven stars in the constellation Ursa Minor that form the outline of a dipper.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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dippers in Culture

Big Dipper definition


A constellation in the northern sky. The two stars on the far end of the bowl of the dipper point toward the North Star. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear).

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

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