Etymology: Middle English nippen; akin to Middle Dutch nipen to pinch, Old Norse hnippa to prod
Date: 14th century
a. to catch hold of and squeeze tightly between two surfaces, edges, or points ; pinch, bite <the dog nipped his ankle> b. to pinch in (as a garment) <a dress nipped at the waist> 2. a. to sever by or as if by pinching sharply b. to destroy the growth, progress, or fulfillment of <nipped in the bud> 3. to injure or make numb with cold ; chill 4. snatch, steal 5. to defeat by a small margin intransitive verb 1. to move briskly, nimbly, or quickly 2. chiefly British to make a quick trip II. noun Date: 1549 1. something that nips: as a. archaic a sharp biting comment b. a sharp stinging cold <a nip in the air> c. a biting or pungent flavor ; tang <cheese with a nip> 2. the act of nipping ; pinch, bite 3. the region of a squeezing or crushing device (as a calender) where the rolls or jaws are closest together 4. a small portion III. noun Etymology: probably from nipperkin, a liquor container Date: circa 1796 a small quantity of liquor ; sip; also a very small bottle of liquor IV. intransitive verb (nipped; nipping) Date: 1887 to take liquor in nips ; tipple
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.