Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nip v.1

[SE nip, to cut, to snip]

1. (UK Und.) to cut a purse or pick a pocket.

[UK]Greene Quip for an Upstart Courtier G3: It is reported you can lift or nip a boung like a quire Coue if you want pence.
[UK]Munday & Drayton Sir John Oldcastle V ii: Come, for Lancashire: we must nip the bung for these crowns.
[UK]Rowlands Martin Mark-all 58: He made among other, these Statutes among them, that whosoeuer he be, that being borne and bred vp in the trade of maunding, nipping and foisting for the space of tenne years, and hath, not the right dexterity in his fingers to picke a pocket, but is faine to cloy his fellowes, and cowarly to demand scrappage.
[UK]Jonson Gypsies Metamorphosed 4: Therefore, till [...] he be able to beate it on the hard hoofe, to the ben bowse, or the stauling Ken, to nip a Jan, and cly the iarke; ’tis thought fitt he marche in the Infants equipage.
[UK]Dekker Canting Song in Eng. Villainies (8th edn) O: If we niggle or mill a Bowsing Ken, Or nip a Boung that hath a Win .
[UK]J. Cleveland Cleivelandi Vindiciae (1677) 99: He is in the Inquisition of the Purse an Aunthentick Gyspsie, that nips your bung with a canting Ordinance [F&H].
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 40: One of our diving Comrades pickt their pockets, or with a short sharp knife, and a horn on the thumb nipt their bungs.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 7 July n.p.: It was said, that some of the Diving Gang should declare, That they would go no more to Church, because many of them had had such ill there of late, but henceforth they would haunt the Quakers Meetings, and nip their things without controul.
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] Nip, cut.
[UK]J. Hall Memoirs (1714) 13: Nip, to Pick.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 59: They endeavour’d to nip his Bung, pick his Pocket.
[UK]Poor Robin n.p.: Meanwhile the cut-purse in the throng, / Hath a fair means to nyp a bung [F&H].
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 27 Jan. 1/8: When the starving poor ‘nip’ such purses, they are crushed [...] by the overwhelming discovery that the thing contains nothing but a crumpled tram-ticket.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 96: As fly a dip as ever nipped a watch or copped a leather.
[US]J. McCree ‘Types’ Variety Stage Eng. Plays [Internet] When you’re out to do some dipping, / Leather stripping, pocket nipping.

2. (UK Und.) to arrest.

[UK]R. Edwards Damon and Pithias (1571) Bii: I go into the Cittie some knaues to nip.
[UK]Dekker Belman of London H3: The Under-keepers of Newgate [...] haue a tricke to get a warrant, into which they put the names of nine or ten of the most notorious Foists and Nips that are free of their Gaole (which they call Whittington Colledge,) and those Nips or Foists doe the Jaylors nip.
[UK]Jonson Masque of the Gipsies in Q. Horatius Flaccus (1640) 55: Here’s no Justice Lippus / Will seeke for to nip us / In Crampring, or Cippus.
[UK] J. Taylor Brood of Cormorants in Works (1869) III 10: I haue heard some Serieants haue beene mild, / And vs’d their Prisoner like a Christians child; / Nip’d him in priuate.
[UK]Witts Recreations ‘Fancies & Fantasticks’ No. 126: Here’s no Justice Lippus / Will seek for to nip us, / In Cramp-ring or Cippus.
[Aus]J. Furphy Such is Life 39: We were sent from the station expressly to nip you.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 70: Say, you’d thought the Boss had been nipped with the goods on.
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) I viii: We’re nipped—de lot of us!
[US]F. Packard White Moll 34: The police, or anybody else, aren’t to know anything about it, because then they’d nip my friends. See?
[US]J. Lait Put on the Spot 34: I’ll go out and nip her myself—in person.
[US]E. Hoffman Price ‘Revolt of the Damned’ Double-Action Gang June [Internet] Not to make a horse’s neck of the God damn feds [...] if they’re screwballs enough to try to nip me.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 145/2: Nip. (Rare) To arrest.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 85: He nipped me by my coatsleeve and lamped me with a wicked eye.

3. to steal, to snatch, to shoplift.

[UK] ‘The Thief-Ketcher’s Song’ Head Canting Academy (1674) 145: The twelfth a Trapan, if a Cull he does meet, / He nips all his Cole, and turns him i’th’street.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Nip [...] to Pinch or Sharp any thing.
[UK]‘Black Procession’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 38: The twelfth is a beau-trap, if a cull he does meet, He nips all his cole, and turns him into the street.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]A. Ramsay Scotch Proverbs (Jamieson) 87: Yet was set off frae the oon for nipping the pyes [F&H].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 24 Nov. 106/1: He then throws his lacing around them and eventually nipps them of their sixpenny tickets.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Tom Sawyer 256: Whoever nipped the whiskey in No. 2, nipped the money, too, I reckon.
[US]Lantern (N.O.) 16 Apr. 2: The car drivers on the Magazine line nip more fares.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 262: W’en one of ’em nipped a super or a rock, an’ wanted d’ quick dough, he brought it to me fadder, who chucked down d’ stuff an’ no questions asked.
[US]‘Old Sleuth’ Dock Rats of N.Y. (2006) 18: At the same time she ‘nipped’ a letter which the man dropped from his jacket, and thus got down on the whole business.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 45: These men become so expert at nipping stones they can cut one from the pin without looking.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 279: I just nipped the keys off the nail by the door.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 11: Sapphire Harris swears he’s even nipped the diamond out of a Begum’s nose.

4. (US) to shoot someone.

[US]Harper’s Monthly June 11: If I’d had a six-shooter [...] they’d a carried away the fellow that nipped Jack!

5. (US) to defeat.

[US]R.G. Hampton Major in Wash. City 67: I got nipped at poker agin yesterday evenin’.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.

6. (US Und.) to obtain, to get hold of.

[[UK]Dekker Canting Song O per se O O3: This cuffin, getting glimmer / I’ th’ prat, so cleymed his jockey, / The nab was queer, the bube him nipped].
[US]‘Old Sleuth’ Dock Rats of N.Y. [Internet] Ch. xxxiv: I’ve got some valuable information—some ‘tips’ that Vance will pay big money to ‘nip’.
[US]E. Dahlberg Bottom Dogs 228: He was to start hitchin’ up at two-thirty and thought he’d nip a little sleep till then.

7. of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

[UK]J. Manchon Le Slang.

8. (Aus./N.Z.) to borrow, to cadge, to wheedle (money) out of.

[NZ]N.Z. Truth 21 June 1/7: He’ll nip you mornin’, noon and night .
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: nip. To be[g] or borrow.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 172: He had tried to nip Zigfeld for five shillings and been firmly refused.
[UK]P. Beveridge Inside the C.I.D. 35: ‘That you, guv’nor?’ said the voice of the man who had ‘nipped’ me for five shilings.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Thicker than Water’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Well why don’t you nip Del for a few quid?

9. (US) to cheat, to take advantage of.

[UK]Dekker Canters Dict. in Eng. Villainies (9th edn) n.p.: Nap, Nip, to Cheat.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) II [as cit. 1648].
[UK] in Variety 8 Jan. 123: Suckers wouldn’t be nipped [...] if they weren’t trying to beat some game themselves [HDAS].
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.

10. (US black) to scratch to give a superficial wound.

[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].

11. (Irish/Scot.) to pick up (a woman).

[UK]M. Munro Patter 49: To nip a wee burd is one way of saying pick up a girl.
[Ire]P. Howard Miseducation of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (2004) 77: Turns out, roysh, he nipped her in Annabel’s last Friday night.

In phrases

nip a bung (v.) (also bung-nip) [bung n.1 (1)]

(UK Und.) to cut a purse.

[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 84: To nyp a boung to cut a pursse.
[UK]Greene Quip for an Upstart Courtier in Hindley Old Book Collector’s Misc. (1871) 75: You can lift, or nip a boung, like a Quire Cove.
[UK]Dekker Lanthorne and Candle-Light Ch. 1: If we niggle, or mill a bowsing Ken, / Or nip a boung that has but a win.
[UK]Middleton & Dekker Roaring Girle V i: Ben mort, shall you and I heave a bough, mill a ken, or nip a bung.
[UK]London Chanticleers i: I mean to be as perfect a pick pocket, as good as ever nipped the judge’s bung while he was condemning him [F&H].
[UK]Dekker Eng. Villainies (9th edn) .
[UK]Catterpillers of this Nation Anatomized 4: Before they nib [sic] a bung they jog the pocket.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue 40: One of our diving Comrades pickt their pockets, or with a short sharp knife, and a horn on the thumb nipt their bungs.
[UK]‘L.B.’ New Academy of Complements 213: Then in the throng, / I nip his Bung.
[UK]J. Phillips Maronides (1678) VI 146: Cut purses / They nipp your bungs for coyn.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue IV 152: Which Arts are divided into that of High-Padding, Low-Padding, Cloy-Filing, Bung-Nipping, Prancers Prigging, Duds-Lifting, Rhum-Napping, Cove-Cuffing, Mort-Trapping, Stamp-Flashing, Ken-Milling, Jerk the Naskin.
[UK]W. Nevison in Newgate Calendar I (1926) 291: ‘Now,’ saith he, ‘that thou art entered into our fraternity, thou must not scruple to act any villainies which thou shalt be able to perform, whether it be to nip a bung, bite the Peter Cloy, [...] or to cloy a mish from the crack man’s.’.
[UK]‘The Vagabond’ in Ebsworth Merry Drollery Compleat (1875) 205: Then in the throng I’ll nip a bung.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 5: Bien weder Rumvil, and nip a Bung.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) II.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: Nip-a-bung, c. to cut a Purse.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 105: [as cit. 1684].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 18: To cut a Purse – Nip the bung.
put the nips in(to) (v.) (also get one’s nips into, put in the nips)

(Aus./N.Z.) to cadge from.

[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 35: nip — To cadge (or ‘Put the nips in’).
[UK](con. WWI) A.E. Strong in Partridge Sl. Today and Yesterday 287: Joe. I put the nips into the fellow in charge for a feed.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 230: You can’t put the nips into old Alf. He’s got death adders in his pockets.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 337: Kim reckoned when Aunt Annie answered the phone she sounded as though she expected you to put in the nips for a fiver.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 136: In the pub. Put the nips into me for a tenner.
[NZ]B. Crump Odd Spot of Bother 114: It’s a wonder some of the banks and insurance companies haven’t been putting the nips into you to invest in some of their capers.
[Aus](con. 1930s) F. Huelin ‘Keep Moving’ 48: Parsons, priests, doctors, lawyers and professional people [...] were legitimate prey, and we had no scruples about ‘putting the nips’ into them.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 89/2: put the nips in/squeeze on seek to extract money or a favour.
MrsW posting on 4 Feb. on [Internet] Hey – perhaps I should go over Remmers way, I might even be able to get my nips into someone rich over there, aye?

SE in slang uses

In compounds

nip shred (n.) [SE shred of cloth]

a tailor.

[UK]K.W. Confused Characters (1860) 58: Though her nimble nipshred never meddles with the garments [OED].

In phrases

nip it (v.) [abbr. SE phr. nip (it) in the bud]

(US campus) to stop something.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 4: nip it – stop.
M.A. Luffy ‘Six Management Tips for Trying Economic Times’ WorkEthicWizard Pt I [Internet] Don’t allow them to spend precious work hours complaining to co-workers and stirring up further unrest. If you become aware of such activity, do what Barney Fife says – ‘Nip it, nip it, nip it!’.