Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nipper n.2

[nip v.1 ; 20C+ use mainly US]

1. (US) in pl., fingers or hands.

[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) xiv: They instantly laid their nippers on the papers.
[US]J. McCree ‘Types’ Variety Stage Eng. Plays [Internet] With your nippers hold a paper near his face.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 44: There is nothing that can save them once a pair of nippers has closed over them.
[US](con. 1916) G. Swarthout Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 21: He had nippers as incontestable as ice tongs.

2. in pl., handcuffs .

[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 94: That’s one of the bulkies from Dumfries, wanting to clap the nippers on me.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 11 Oct. 7/4: The policeman put ‘nippers’ on the priest’s wrists.
Courier-Jrnl (Louisville, KY) 11 May 2/1: I was collared, and a pair of nippers twisted around my wrists.
[US]W. Norr Stories of Chinatown 50: The flatties closed in on me to put on the nippers.
[US]Number 1500 Life In Sing Sing 251: Nippers. Handcuffs.
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) 130: It would [...] give him a chance to make his get-away before the district attorney got the nippers on the four of them.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 57: The policemen were wise to this old trick and snapped the nippers on Lewis’s wrists.
[US]H. Asbury Barbary Coast 224: One of the few policemen who dared enter the Whale alone [...] came out dragging Tip Thornton at the end of a pair of nippers.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Shakedown Sham’ Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective May [Internet] Hey, Dave, come in and put the nippers on this rodent! He’s the murderer!
[US]F. Paley Rumble on the Docks (1955) 296: Fitz [...] unsnapped the nippers on his belt.

3. (US) in pl., pince-nez [their ‘nipping’ the bridge of the nose to gain a purchase on the face].

[UK]J.R. Lowell Letters (1894) II 183: I am writing at this moment with spectacles (not nippers, mind you) across my prosaic nose .
[US]H. James Ambassadors I 9: His eyes were so quiet behind his eternal nippers that they might almost have been absent without changing his face.
[US]W. Cather in Uncle Valentine (1986) 19: She’s got together all the most objectionable old birds in the valley. There’s Julia Knewstubb, with her nippers hanging on her nose, looking more like a horse than ever .

4. (US campus) in pl., the female breasts.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS.