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[nip-ee] /ˈnɪp i/
adjective, nippier, nippiest.
chilly or cold:
morning air that feels a bit nippy.
sharp or biting; tangy:
This cheese has a good, nippy taste.
Chiefly British Informal. nimble; agile.
Origin of nippy
1565-75; nip1 + -y1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for nippy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Under Alcock's skillful hands the big Vimy became almost as nippy as a single-seater scout.

  • The wind was in their faces, such wind as there was, and the air was keen and nippy.

    Nan Sherwood at Pine Camp Annie Roe Carr
  • Sharp to time, at three o'clock on a very "nippy" afternoon, a most terrific cannonade was opened on the doomed trench.

    With the Zionists in Gallipoli John Henry Patterson
  • Would have liked to have warned you the other night, but Bacon was too nippy.

    To Love Margaret Peterson
  • Efter a while I felt a bit sleepy; 'twere t' nippy air, an' mebbe t' seet o' t' fallin' watter dazed my een.

    More Tales of the Ridings Frederic Moorman
  • They carry the mail over vast, snowy wildernesses, and even sometimes to Dawson, when the air is not too nippy.

  • Little "nippy," my beloved fox terrier, and constant companion, rushed into the laboratory and ran up to me.

    The Bell Tone Edmund H. Leftwich
  • Then, as the air was nippy with frost, Miss Brazilla hurried indoors again.

    Rilla of the Lighthouse Grace May North
  • He remembered that he had ridden in one a few days before and that it was what he called "nifty and nippy."

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
British Dictionary definitions for nippy


adjective -pier, -piest
(of weather) chilly, keen, or frosty
(Brit, informal)
  1. quick; nimble; active
  2. (of a motor vehicle) small and relatively powerful
(of the taste of food) biting, sharp, or pungent
(of a dog) inclined to bite
Derived Forms
nippily, adverb
nippiness, noun
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 nippy

1898, in reference to a "biting" chill in the air, from nip (n.2) + -y (2). Related: Nippiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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