in nick time


a small notch, groove, chip, or the like, cut into or existing in something.
a hollow place produced in an edge or surface, as of a dish, by breaking, chipping, or the like: I didn't notice those tiny nicks in the vase when I bought it.
a small dent or wound.
a small groove on one side of the shank of a printing type, serving as a guide in setting or to distinguish different types.
Biochemistry. a break in one strand of a double-stranded DNA or RNA molecule.
British Slang. prison.
verb (used with object)
to cut into or through: I nicked my chin while shaving.
to hit or injure slightly.
to make a nick or nicks in (something); notch, groove, or chip.
to record by means of a notch or notches.
to incise certain tendons at the root of (a horse's tail) to give it a higher carrying position; make an incision under the tail of (a horse).
to hit, guess, catch, etc., exactly.
Slang. to trick, cheat, or defraud: How much did they nick you for that suit?
British Slang.
to arrest (a criminal or suspect).
to capture; nab.
to steal: Someone nicked her pocketbook on the bus.
in the nick of time, at the right or vital moment, usually at the last possible moment: The fire engines arrived in the nick of time.

1475–85; obscurely akin to Old English gehnycned wrinkled, Old Norse hnykla to wrinkle

unnicked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
nick1 (nɪk)
1.  a small notch or indentation on an edge or surface
2.  a groove on the shank of a printing type, used to orientate type and often to distinguish the fount
3.  (Brit) prison a slang word for police station
4.  informal in good nick in good condition
5.  in the nick of time at the last possible moment; at the critical moment
vb (often foll by off)
6.  (tr) to chip or cut
7.  slang chiefly (Brit) (tr)
 a.  to steal
 b.  to take into legal custody; arrest
8.  informal to move or depart rapidly
9.  to divide and reset (certain of the tail muscles of a horse) to give the tail a high carriage
10.  (tr) to guess, catch, etc, exactly
11.  (intr) (of breeding stock) to mate satisfactorily
12.  slang (US), (Canadian) nick someone for to defraud someone to the extent of
[C15: perhaps changed from C14 nockenock]

nick2 (nɪk)
computing an alias adopted by a member of a chatroom or forum; nickname
[short for nickname]

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

"notch, groove, slit," late 15c., nyke, of unknown origin, possibly influenced by M.Fr. niche "niche." The verb is first attested 1520s. Sense of "to steal" is from 1869, probably from earlier slang sense of "to catch, take unawares, arrest" (1620s). Nick of time is first attested 1640s, possibly from
an old custom of recording time as it passed by making notches on a tally stick, though the general sense of "critical moment" is older (1570s) than the phrase.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Nickelodeon (cable television channel)
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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