to plunge (something, as a cloth or sponge) temporarily into a liquid, so as to moisten it, dye it, or cause it to take up some of the liquid:
He dipped the brush into the paint bucket.
to raise or take up by a bailing, scooping, or ladling action:
to dip water out of a boat; to dip ice cream from a container.
to lower and raise:
to dip a flag in salutation.
to immerse (a sheep, hog, etc.) in a solution to destroy germs, parasites, or the like.
to make (a candle) by repeatedly plunging a wick into melted tallow or wax.
Nautical. to lower and rehoist (a yard of a lugsail) when coming about in tacking.
Archaic. to baptize by immersion.
Obsolete. to moisten or wet as if by immersion.
to plunge into water or other liquid and emerge quickly:
The boat dipped into the waves.
to put the hand, a , etc., down into a liquid or a container, especially in order to remove something (often followed by in or into):
He dipped into the jar for an olive.
to withdraw something, especially in small amounts (usually followed by in or into):
to dip into savings.
to sink or drop down:
The sun dipped below the horizon.
to incline or slope downward:
At that point the road dips into a valley.
to decrease slightly or temporarily:
Stock-market prices often dip on Fridays.
to engage slightly in a subject (often followed by in or into):
to dip into astronomy.
to read here and there in a book, subject, or author’s work (often followed by in or into):
to dip into Plato.
South Midland and Southern U.S. to take snuff.
the act of dipping.
that which is taken up by dipping.
a quantity taken up by dipping; the amount that a scoop, ladle, , etc., will hold.
a scoop of ice cream.
Chiefly Northern U.S. a liquid or soft substance into which something is dipped.
a creamy mixture of savory foods for scooping with potato chips, crackers, and the like, often served as an hors d’oeuvre, especially with cocktails.
a momentary lowering; a sinking down.
a moderate or temporary decrease:
a dip in stock-market prices.
a downward extension, inclination, slope, or course.
the amount of such extension.
a hollow or depression in the land.
a brief swim:
She took a dip in the ocean and then sat on the beach for an hour.
Geology, Mining. the downward inclination of a vein or stratum with reference to the horizontal.
the angular amount by which the horizon lies below the level of the eye.
Also called angle of dip, inclination, magnetic dip, magnetic inclination. the angle that a freely rotating magnetic needle makes with the plane of the horizon.
a short, downward plunge, as of an airplane.
a candle made by repeatedly dipping a wick into melted tallow or wax.
Gymnastics. an exercise on the parallel bars in which the elbows are bent until the chin is on a level with the bars, and then the body is elevated by straightening the arms.
Slang. a pickpocket.
at the dip, Nautical. not fully raised; halfway up the halyard:
an answering pennant flown at the dip.
Compare (def 75b).
a naive, foolish, or obnoxious person.
a packaged chip that connects to a circuit board by means of pins.
Contemporary Examples

As remotes around the country thumped along with bibles, ‘Duck Dynasty’ ratings were set to dip.
A&E Ducks for Cover by Forgiving Phil Robertson Michael Musto December 29, 2013

Skim off most of the fat with a spoon: just dip in, get a spoonful of fat, and remove.
Your Friday Gadget Chef Recipe: Two Day Soup Megan McArdle November 8, 2012

While the companies have claimed that a wet and cold spring caused the dip, it has been a years-long trend.
Are Americans Done With Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper? William O’Connor July 30, 2013

So I am definitely kind of afraid to dip my toes in those waters.
Playing Doctor with Rob Corddry Miriam Datskovsky December 8, 2008

Kirkman does dip into metaphor here, as telephones are a symbol of our connection with one another.
The Walking Dead’s Luke Skywalker: Rick Grimes Is the Perfect Modern-Day Mythical Hero Regina Lizik October 27, 2014

Historical Examples

dip the slices first into the egg, then into the pan of bread-crumbs.
Miss Leslie’s New Cookery Book Eliza Leslie

Do you see that dip in the ground there where the snow melts as fast as it drops?
A Woman Tenderfoot Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

We dip our pitchers in these fountains to come away overspilling with satisfaction.
Tablets Amos Bronson Alcott

Again he painted a while before he asked, “Has she had her dip?”
Questionable Shapes William Dean Howells

But during the race there was a critical moment as the horses entered the dip and his jockey was seen to move in the saddle.
London in the Sixties One of the Old Brigade

verb dips, dipping, dipped
to plunge or be plunged quickly or briefly into a liquid, esp to wet or coat
(intransitive) to undergo a slight decline, esp temporarily: sales dipped in November
(intransitive) to slope downwards: the land dips towards the river
(intransitive) to sink or appear to sink quickly: the sun dipped below the horizon
(transitive) to switch (car headlights) from the main to the lower beam US and Canadian word dim

to immerse (poultry, sheep, etc) briefly in a liquid chemical to rid them of or prevent infestation by insects, etc
to immerse (grain, vegetables, or wood) in a preservative liquid

(transitive) to stain or dye by immersing in a liquid
(transitive) to baptize (someone) by immersion
(transitive) to plate or galvanize (a metal, etc) by immersion in an electrolyte or electrolytic cell
(transitive) to scoop up a liquid or something from a liquid in the hands or in a container
to lower or be lowered briefly: she dipped her knee in a curtsy
(transitive) to make (a candle) by plunging the wick into melted wax
(intransitive) to plunge a container, the hands, etc, into something, esp to obtain or retrieve an object: he dipped in his pocket for money
(intransitive; foll by in or into) to dabble (in); play (at): he dipped into black magic
(intransitive) (of an aircraft) to drop suddenly and then regain height
(intransitive) (of a rock stratum or mineral vein) to slope downwards from the horizontal
(intransitive) often foll by for. (in children’s games) to select (a leader, etc) by reciting any of various rhymes
(transitive) (slang) to pick (a person’s) pocket
the act of dipping or state of being dipped
a brief swim in water

any liquid chemical preparation in which poultry, sheep, etc are dipped
any liquid preservative into which objects, esp of wood, are dipped

a preparation of dyeing agents into which fabric is immersed
a depression, esp in a landscape
something taken up by dipping
a container used for dipping; dipper
a momentary sinking down
the angle of slope of rock strata, fault planes, etc, from the horizontal plane
Also called angle of dip, magnetic dip, inclination. the angle between the direction of the earth’s magnetic field and the plane of the horizon; the angle that a magnetic needle free to swing in a vertical plane makes with the horizontal
a creamy mixture into which pieces of food are dipped before being eaten
(surveying) the angular distance of the horizon below the plane of observation
a candle made by plunging a wick repeatedly into wax
a momentary loss of altitude when flying
(in gymnastics) a chinning exercise on the parallel bars
a slang word for pickpocket

Old English dyppan “immerse, baptize by immersion,” from Proto-Germanic *duppjan (cf. Old Norse deypa “to dip,” Danish døbe “to baptize,” Old Frisian depa, Dutch dopen, German taufen, Gothic daupjan “to baptize”), related to Old English diepan “immerse, dip,” and perhaps ultimately to deep. As a noun, from 1590s. Sense of “downward slope” is 1708. Meaning “sweet sauce for pudding, etc.” first recorded 1825.

“stupid person, eccentric person,” 1920s slang, perhaps a back-formation from dippy. “Dipshit is an emphatic form of dip (2); dipstick may be a euphemism or may reflect putative dipstick ‘penis’ ” [DAS].

The downward inclination of a rock stratum or vein in reference to the plane of the horizon.

See magnetic inclination.


A pickpocket: Since he seemed to remind me of a dip I’d helped bust years before (1850+ Underworld)


: Frankie dipped two men on the 37 bus

[fr dipping one’s hand into a pocket]


dippy (1917+)


A stupid person; simpleton; dipshit: That goddamned dip’s worse than the Cowboys (1920s+)
An eccentric person; nut: My grandmother was a woefully crazy lady, a bit of a dip (1920s+)
A slovenly, untidy person; dirtbag (1960s+ Teenagers)


Diphtheria (1940s+)


dipso (1940s+)


To chew tobacco or take snuff (1848+)

Related Terms

double-dip, i’ll be damned, skinny-dip

1. Dual In-line Package.
2. Document Image Processing.
desquamative interstitial pneumonia
digital imaging processing
distal interphalangeal joint
dual in-line package


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