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proprietary name of a brand of cigarette lighter, patented 1934 by Zippo Manufacturing Co., Bradford, Pa.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Examples from the Web for zippo
Historical Examples
  • Rubini and zippo are both certain that this woman is acting in perfect good faith.

    Out with Garibaldi G. A. Henty
  • The fellow must have seen some of us, because he was just starting to run when, zippo, that detective had him by the collar again.

    Roy Blakeley's Camp on Wheels Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • zippo had rallied the men, who, gathering together, endeavoured to fight their way through their assailants.

    Out with Garibaldi G. A. Henty
  • As Frank was strolling up the street he met the two friends, for zippo was a cousin of the captain.

    Out with Garibaldi G. A. Henty
Slang definitions & phrases for zippo



  1. A quip, esp one that is somewhat cruel and aggressive; a funny crack or punch line: Watt's offthe-cuff zingers have been a frequent source of pain for the Reagan Administration/ The plump little actor is polished and funny; his zingers stay zung
  2. A quick and sharp response; a sturdy retort: get right in there with Williams, stand eyeball to eyeball, and plant the zinger on him, bang, or else you would be dismissed (1950+)



Full of energy and vigor; peppy, zippy: written by no less than the zingy Nora Ephron/ Zingy Zeroes, Wall Street's hot bonds (1948+)



Denoting a sexual encounter that is brief and passionate

[1973+; coined by Erica Jong, ''because when you came together, zippers fell away like petals'']

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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