The DICT Development Group
1 definition found
for To nip in the bud
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
Nip \Nip\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Nipped, less properly Nipt;
p. pr. & vb. n. Nipping.] [OE. nipen; cf. D. niipen to
pinch, also knippen to nip, clip, pinch, snap, knijpen to
pinch, LG. knipen, G. kneipen, kneifen, to pinch, cut off,
nip, Lith. knebti.]
1. To catch and inclose or compress tightly between two
surfaces, or points which are brought together or closed;
to pinch; to close in upon.
May this hard earth cleave to the Nadir hell,
Down, down, and close again, and nip me flat,
If I be such a traitress. --Tennyson.
2. To remove by pinching, biting, or cutting with two meeting
edges of anything; to clip.
The small shoots . . . must be nipped off.
3. Hence: To blast, as by frost; to check the growth or vigor
of; to destroy.
4. To vex or pain, as by nipping; hence, to taunt.
And sharp remorse his heart did prick and nip.
To nip in the bud, to cut off at the very commencement of
growth; to kill in the incipient stage.
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