from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A shallow notch, cut, or indentation on an edge or a surface.
  • noun Chiefly British Slang A prison or police station.
  • noun Printing A groove down the side of a piece of type used to ensure that it is correctly placed.
  • transitive verb To cut a nick or notch in.
  • transitive verb To cut into and wound slightly.
  • transitive verb To cut short; check.
  • transitive verb Slang To cheat, especially by overcharging.
  • transitive verb To steal.
  • transitive verb To arrest.
  • idiom (in the nick of time) Just at the critical moment; just in time.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To strike or hit right; hit or hit upon exactly; fit into; suit.
  • In gaming, to throw or turn up; hit or hit upon.
  • To delude or deceive; cozen; cheat, as at dice.
  • To catch in the act.
  • To fit; unite or combine; be adapted for combining: said, in stock-breeding, of the crossing of one strain of blood with another.
  • To suit; compare; be comparable.
  • In the game of hazard, to throw a winning number. Compare nick, n., 3.
  • To bet; gamble.
  • To make a nick or notch in; notch; cut or mark with nicks or notches.
  • To sever with a snip or single cut, as with shears.
  • To cut short; abridge. See nick, n., 3.
  • To break or crack; smash as the nickers used to do. See nicker, 2.
  • In coal-mining, to cut (the coal) on the side, after kirving, holing, or undercutting.
  • noun In type-founding, a small groove, made by the mold on the front side and lower part of the body of American type.
  • noun In violin-making, one of the little notches cut midway in the side of an f-hole or sound-hole, to indicate the proper location for the bridge.
  • noun In lumbering, same as undercut, 2.
  • To nod; wink.
  • noun Point, especially point of time: as, in the nick of—that is, on the point of (being or doing something).
  • noun The exact point (of time) which accords with or is demanded by the necessities of the case; the critical or right moment; the very moment: used chiefly in the phrases in the nick or in the nick of time—that is, at the right moment, just when most needed or demanded.
  • noun A lucky or winning throw in the game of hazard: as, eleven is the nick to seven. See hazard, 1.
  • To nickname; hence, to annoy or tease by nicknaming.
  • noun A hollow cut or slight depression made in the surface of anything; a notch.
  • noun A score or reckoning: so called from the old practice of keeping reckonings on tallies or notched sticks.
  • noun A false bottom in a beer-can, by which customers were cheated, the nick below and the froth above filling up part of the measure.
  • noun In craps, a throw of 7 or 11, which wins all the stakes for the caster immediately.
  • noun The devil: usually with the addition of Old.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Northern Myth.) An evil spirit of the waters.
  • noun [Colloq.] the evil one; the devil.
  • transitive verb To make a nick or nicks in; to notch; to keep count of or upon by nicks
  • transitive verb To mar; to deface; to make ragged, as by cutting nicks or notches in; to create a nick{2} in, deliberately or accidentally.
  • transitive verb To suit or fit into, as by a correspondence of nicks; to tally with.
  • transitive verb To hit at, or in, the nick; to touch rightly; to strike at the precise point or time.
  • transitive verb To make a cross cut or cuts on the under side of (the tail of a horse, in order to make him carry it higher).
  • transitive verb obsolete To nickname; to style.
  • noun obsolete, obsolete A notch cut into something.
  • noun obsolete A score for keeping an account; a reckoning.
  • noun (Print.) A notch cut crosswise in the shank of a type, to assist a compositor in placing it properly in the stick, and in distribution.
  • noun A broken or indented place in any edge or surface.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English nik, possibly alteration (influenced by nokke, notch) of niche; see niche.]


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