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

  • n. A tool, such as pliers or pincers, used for squeezing or nipping. Often used in the plural.
  • n. A pincerlike part, such as the large claw of a crustacean.
  • n. Chiefly British A small boy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who, or that which, nips.
  • n. Any of various devices (as pincers) for nipping.
  • n. A child.
  • n. A child aged from 5 to 13 in the Australian surf life-saving clubs.
  • n. A mosquito.
  • n. One of four foreteeth in a horse.
  • n. A satirist.
  • n. A pickpocket; a young or petty thief.
  • n. A fish, the cunner.
  • n. A European crab (Polybius henslowii).
  • n. The claws of a crab or lobster.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who, or that which, nips.
  • n. A fore tooth of a horse. The nippers are four in number.
  • n. A satirist.
  • n. A pickpocket; a young or petty thief.
  • n.
  • n. The cunner.
  • n. A European crab (Polybius Henslowii).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Nautical, to fasten two parts of (a rope) together, in order to prevent it from rendering; also, to fasten nippers to.
  • n. One who nips.
  • n. A satirist.
  • n. A thief; a pickpocket; a cutpurse.
  • n. A boy who waits on a gang of navvies, to fetch them water, carry their tools to the smithy, etc.; also, a boy who goes about with and assists a costermonger.
  • n. One of various tools or implements like pincers or tongs: generally in the plural. , , , ,
  • n. An incisor tooth; especially, one of the incisors or fore teeth of a horse.
  • n. One of the great claws or chelæ of a crustacean, as a crab or lobster.
  • n. Nautical, a short piece of rope or selvage used to bind the cable to the messenger in heaving up an anchor.
  • n. A hammock with so little bedding as to be unfit for stowing in the nettings.
  • n. The cunner, Ctenolabrus adspersus: so called from the way in which it nips or nibbles the hook. Also nibbler. See cut under cunner.
  • n. The young bluefish, Pomatomus saltatrix; so called by fishermen because it bites or nips pieces out of the menhaden, in the schools of which it is often found.
  • n. A dram; nip.
  • n.
  • n. A local name in Australia of species of Alphæus, a genus of prawns.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a young person of either sex
  • n. a grasping structure on the limb of a crustacean or other arthropods


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The term nipper tipping is a combination of the WWII epithet for the Japanese and the childish prank of tipping sleeping cows.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • I am still front line and you know when a nipper is in danger and you know when to act.

    Upside Your Head « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • The practice has a name -- "nipper-tipping" -- the word "nipper," like that other n-word, being a racial slur.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • The connotations are what's important here, though; "nipper" implies a child who's small enough and quick enough to "nip" -- to dart nimbly to and fro, here and there, like the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist or Shakespeare's Puck.

    Losts in Translation

  • Mr. Beale begged of all likely foot-passengers, but he noted that the "nipper" no longer "stuck it on."

    Harding's Luck

  • But as a trainee, or "nipper", gardener back in 1963, flowerpot man Alan almost quit to fit carpets instead.


  • "nipper-tipping" -- the word "nipper," like that other n-word, being a racial slur.

    Dawg's Blawg

  • What does he consider a big 'nipper'? ")" come up to Pine Camp.

    Nan Sherwood at Pine Camp or, the Old Lumberman's Secret

  • I lived in Ireland as a nipper and now reside in England.

    Falling Water

  • Had it been purely my decision it would have been easy but it's not, we're a triumvirate, me, my wife and the 16-month-old nipper.

    MediaCity on Monday: 'Finally the focus can again be on just doing the job'


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A whaleman's nipper is a short firm strip of tendinous stuff cut from the tapering part of Leviathan's tail: it averages an inch in thickness, and for the rest, is about the size of the iron part of a hoe. Edgewise moved along the oily deck, it operates like a leathern squilgee; and by nameless blandishments, as of magic, allures along with it all impurities.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 94

    July 29, 2008

  • A young person, a kid. I always thought it was related to the crab, in the sense of biting ones ankles, but nyp suggests an alternative.

    November 10, 2007