from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A small measure or quantity of beer or liquor.

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

  • noun obsolete A small cup.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun archaic A small cup or other vessel, of perhaps 1/8 pint in volume.
  • noun archaic A small amount of beer, wine, or other liquid, of perhaps 1/8 pint in volume.


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • A small vessel used as a measure for alcoholic liquor, containing a half-pint or less. The quantity of liquid that can be contained in a nipperkin; a small quantity of ale, wine, spirits, etc. Chiefly Sc. in later use.

    This was a very commonly used term at a previous job of mine. We used it to mean a shot-glass or shot-glass-sized amount of liquid. Usage, for example: "It takes many nipperkins to get me lit."

    February 16, 2007