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[lip] /lɪp/
either of the two fleshy parts or folds forming the margins of the mouth and functioning in speech.
Usually, lips. these parts as organs of speech:
I heard it from his own lips.
a projecting edge on a container or other hollow object:
the lip of a pitcher.
a liplike part or structure, especially of anatomy.
any edge or rim.
the edge of an opening or cavity, as of a canyon or a wound:
the lip of the crater.
Slang. impudent talk; back talk:
Don't give me any of your lip.
Botany. either of the two parts into which the corolla or calyx of certain plants, especially of the mint family, is divided.
  1. a labium.
  2. the outer or the inner margin of the aperture of a gastropod's shell.
Music. the position and arrangement of lips and tongue in playing a wind instrument; embouchure.
the cutting edge of a tool.
the blade, at the end of an auger, which cuts the chip after it has been circumscribed by the spur.
(in a twist drill) the cutting edge at the bottom of each flute.
of or relating to the lips or a lip:
lip ointment.
characterized by or made with the lips:
to read lip movements.
superficial or insincere:
to offer lip praise.
verb (used with object), lipped, lipping.
to touch with the lips.
Golf. to hit the ball over the rim of (the hole).
to utter, especially softly.
to kiss.
verb (used without object), lipped, lipping.
to use the lips in playing a musical wind instrument.
Verb phrases
lip off, Slang. to talk impudently or belligerently.
bite one's lip / tongue, to repress one's anger or other emotions:
He wanted to return the insult, but bit his lip.
button one's lip, Slang. to keep silent, especially, to refrain from revealing information:
They told him to button his lip if he didn't want trouble.
Also, button up.
hang on the lips of, to listen to very attentively:
The members of the club hung on the lips of the visiting lecturer.
keep a stiff upper lip,
  1. to face misfortune bravely and resolutely:
    Throughout the crisis they kept a stiff upper lip.
  2. to suppress the display of any emotion.
smack one's lips, to indicate one's keen enjoyment or pleasurable anticipation of:
We smacked our lips over the delicious meal.
Origin of lip
before 1000; Middle English lip(pe), Old English lippa; cognate with Dutch lip, German Lippe; akin to Norwegian lepe, Latin labium
Related forms
lipless, adjective
liplike, adjective
outlip, verb (used with object), outlipped, outlipping.
underlip, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for lipless
Historical Examples
  • He was a short, humanoid type with deep black eyes and a thin, lipless mouth that never smiled.

    Dead World Jack Douglas
  • They were silent, their eyes big, their mouths set in lipless lines.

    Shaman Robert Shea
  • The lipless mouth had looked so odd forming the familiar words.

    Missing Link Frank Patrick Herbert
  • "Tell her about Spenski," came to Peter's ears in the lipless mouthing.

    Red Fleece Will Levington Comfort
  • My assistant is taking great pleasure in perfecting me in the art of lipless conversation.

    Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist Alexander Berkman
  • It was the awful mouth of a catfish, lipless and almost inconceivably wide, stretching from side to side.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • And she who alone could have solved the mystery and told us the truth, lay there with a lipless mouth.

    A Woman Named Smith Marie Conway Oemler
  • It had no eyes, no ears, only a lipless mouth and slitted nostril flaps.

    Captives of the Flame Samuel R. Delany
  • There was a mouth under the eyes, the lipless brim of which quivered and panted, and dropped saliva.

    The War of the Worlds H. G. Wells
  • The lipless mouth and the blankly staring eyes were without any expression that he could interpret.

British Dictionary definitions for lipless


  1. either of the two fleshy folds surrounding the mouth, playing an important role in the production of speech sounds, retaining food in the mouth, etc related adjective labial
  2. (as modifier): lip salve
the corresponding part in animals, esp mammals
any structure resembling a lip, such as the rim of a crater, the margin of a gastropod shell, etc
a nontechnical word for labium, labellum (sense 1)
(slang) impudent talk or backchat
the embouchure and control in the lips needed to blow wind and brass instruments
bite one's lip
  1. to stifle one's feelings
  2. to be annoyed or irritated
(slang) button one's lip, button up one's lip, to stop talking: often imperative
keep a stiff upper lip, to maintain one's courage or composure during a time of trouble without giving way to or revealing one's emotions
lick one's lips, smack one's lips, to anticipate or recall something with glee or relish
verb lips, lipping, lipped
(transitive) to touch with the lip or lips
(transitive) to form or be a lip or lips for
(transitive) (rare) to murmur or whisper
(intransitive) to use the lips in playing a wind instrument
See also lip out
Derived Forms
lipless, adjective
liplike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English lippa; related to Old High German leffur, Norwegian lepe, Latin labium
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 lipless

c.1400, from lip (n.) + -less. Related: Liplessly.



Old English lippa, from Proto-Germanic *lepjon (cf. Old Frisian lippa, Middle Dutch lippe, Dutch lip, Old High German lefs, German Lefze, Swedish läpp, Danish læbe), from PIE *leb- "to lick; lip" (cf. Latin labium).

French lippe is from a Germanic source. Transferred sense of "edge or margin of a cup, etc." is from 1590s. Slang sense "saucy talk" is from 1821, probably from move the lip (1570s) "utter even the slightest word (against someone)." To bite (one's) lip "show vexation" is from early 14c. Stiff upper lip as a sign of courage is from 1833. Lip gloss is attested from 1939; lip balm from 1877. Related: Lips.


c.1600, "to kiss," from lip (n.). Meaning "to pronounce with the lips only" is from 1789. Related: Lipped; lipping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lipless in Medicine

lip (lĭp)

  1. Either of two fleshy folds that surround the opening of the mouth.

  2. A liplike structure bounding or encircling a bodily cavity or groove.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for lipless



  1. Insolent, impertinent, or presumptuous talk; sass, sauce: I don't want none of your lip (1821+)
  2. A lawyer; mouthpiece (1929+ Underworld)


To play a musical instrument, esp in jazz; blow: He couldn't lip anything proper anymore (1950s+ Jazz musicians)

Related Terms

bat one's gums, flip one's lip, zip one's lip

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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lipless in the Bible

besides its literal sense (Isa. 37:29, etc.), is used in the original (saphah) metaphorically for an edge or border, as of a cup (1 Kings 7:26), a garment (Ex. 28:32), a curtain (26:4), the sea (Gen. 22:17), the Jordan (2 Kings 2:13). To "open the lips" is to begin to speak (Job 11:5); to "refrain the lips" is to keep silence (Ps. 40:9; 1 Pet. 3:10). The "fruit of the lips" (Heb. 13:15) is praise, and the "calves of the lips" thank-offerings (Hos. 14:2). To "shoot out the lip" is to manifest scorn and defiance (Ps. 22:7). Many similar forms of expression are found in Scripture.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with lipless


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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