nip and tuck


1 [nip]
verb (used with object), nipped, nipping.
to squeeze or compress tightly between two surfaces or points; pinch; bite.
to take off by pinching, biting, or snipping (usually followed by off ): He nipped off a piece of steak and gave it to the dog.
to check in growth or development.
to affect sharply and painfully or injuriously, as a very cold temperature: a cold wind that nips the fingers.
Informal. to snatch away suddenly.
Informal. to defeat (an opponent) by a very close margin; edge.
Informal. to steal or pilfer.
(of ice) to press (a ship) from opposite sides.
to seize (a taut rope) to another rope.
verb (used without object), nipped, nipping.
Chiefly British Slang. to leave stealthily; sneak away; flee (often followed by away ).
an act of nipping; a pinch or small bite: The dog took several nips at our heels.
a biting quality, as in cold or frosty air: There's a nip in the air this morning.
sharp cold; a sharp touch of frost: The trees had felt the first nip of winter.
a sharp or biting remark.
a biting taste or tang, especially in some cheese.
a small bit or quantity of anything: a nip of bread to stave off hunger.
an abrupt turn or twist in a rope.
a part of a rope or chain bound by a seizing or nipper.
Usually, nips. nipper ( def 2 ).
nip and tuck, with each competitor equaling or closely contesting the speed, scoring, or efforts of the other: It was nip and tuck as to which sailboat would reach port first.
nip in the bud. bud1 ( def 11 ).

1350–1400; Middle English nyppe to pinch < Old Norse hnippa to poke, thrust

4. freeze, bite, pierce, cut, chill. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
nip1 (nɪp)
vb (when intr, often foll by at) , nips, nipping, nipped
1.  to catch or tightly compress, as between a finger and the thumb; pinch
2.  (often foll by off) to remove by clipping, biting, etc
3.  to give a small sharp bite (to): the dog nipped at his heels
4.  (esp of the cold) to affect with a stinging sensation
5.  to harm through cold: the frost nipped the young plants
6.  to check or destroy the growth of (esp in the phrase nip in the bud)
7.  slang to steal
8.  informal (Brit) (intr; foll by along, up, out, etc) to hurry; dart
9.  slang chiefly (US), (Canadian) to snatch
10.  the act of nipping; a pinch, snip, etc
11.  a.  a frosty or chilly quality
 b.  severe frost or cold: the first nip of winter
12.  a small piece or quantity: he went out for a nip of fresh air
13.  a sharp flavour or tang
14.  archaic a taunting remark
15.  nip and tuck
 a.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) neck and neck
 b.  informal plastic surgery performed for cosmetic reasons
16.  slang (Austral), (NZ) put the nips in to exert pressure on someone, esp in order to extort money
[C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse hnippa to prod]

nip2 (nɪp)
1.  a small drink of spirits; dram
2.  chiefly (Brit) a measure of spirits usually equal to one sixth of a gill
vb , nips, nipping, nipped
3.  to drink (spirits), esp habitually in small amounts
[C18: shortened from nipperkin a vessel holding a half-pint or less, of uncertain origin; compare Dutch nippen to sip]

Nip (nɪp)
slang a derogatory word for a Japanese
[C20: short for Nipponese]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"to pinch sharply, to bite," late 14c., related to M.L.G. nipen "to nip," Du. nijpen, but the exact evolution of the stem is obscure. Related: Nipped; nipping. The noun is attested from 1550s. To nip (something) in the bud in the figurative sense is first recorded c.1600. Nip and tuck "a close thing"
is recorded from 1832, perhaps from sailing or tailoring.

"small measure of spirits," 1796, shortening of nipperkin (1671) "quantity of liquor of a half pint or less," possibly of Du. or Low Ger. origin and related to nip (v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

nip and tuck definition

Closely contested; neck and neck: “It was nip and tuck there for a while, but our team finally pulled through.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
National Immunization Program
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

nip and tuck

Very close so that the advantage or lead of competitors keeps shifting, as in It was nip and tuck whether they would deal with the bill before Congress adjourned. The precise allusion in this term has been lost. [Early 1800s] Also see neck and neck.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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