v. dipped, dip·ping, dips
1. To plunge briefly into a liquid, as in order to wet, coat, or saturate.
2. To color or dye by immersing: dip Easter eggs.
3. To immerse (a sheep or other animal) in a disinfectant solution.
4. To form (a candle) by repeatedly immersing a wick in melted wax or tallow.
5. To galvanize or plate (metal) by immersion.
6. To scoop up by plunging the hand or a receptacle below the surface, as of a liquid; ladle: dip water out of a bucket.
7. To lower and raise (a flag) in salute.
8. To lower or drop (something) suddenly: dipped my head to avoid the branch.
9. Slang To pick the pockets of.
1. To plunge into water or other liquid and come out quickly.
2. To plunge the hand or a receptacle into liquid or a container, especially so as to take something up or out: I dipped into my pocket for some coins.
3. To withdraw a small amount from a fund: We dipped into our savings.
4. To drop down or sink out of sight suddenly: The sun dipped below the horizon.
5. To drop suddenly before climbing. Used of an aircraft.
6. To slope downward; decline: The road dipped.
7. To decline slightly and usually temporarily: Sales dipped after Christmas.
8. Geology To lie at an angle to the horizontal plane, as a rock stratum or vein.
a. To read here and there at random; browse: dipping into Chaucer.
b. To investigate a subject superficially; dabble: dipped into psychology.
10. Slang To steal by picking pockets.
11. To place a preparation of finely shredded tobacco in one's mouth.
1. A brief plunge or immersion, especially a quick swim.
2. A liquid into which something is dipped, as for dyeing or disinfecting.
3. A savory creamy mixture into which crackers, raw vegetables, or other foods may be dipped.
4. An amount taken up by dipping.
5. A container for dipping.
6. A candle made by repeated dipping in tallow or wax.
7. A downward slope; a decline.
8. A sharp downward course; a drop: a dip in prices.
9. Geology The downward inclination of a rock stratum or vein in reference to the plane of the horizon.
a. Linguistics A part of a phrase or sentence that is unstressed or less strongly stressed relative to surrounding words, as the words I and to in I have to go.
b. The unstressed portion of a metrical foot.
11. Magnetic dip.
12. A hollow or depression.
13. Sports A gymnastic exercise on the parallel bars in which the body is lowered by bending the elbows until the chin reaches the level of the bars and then is raised by straightening the arms.
14. Slang A pickpocket.
15. Slang A foolish or stupid person.
16. A preparation of finely shredded tobacco, usually placed between the lower lip and gum. Also called snuff.
[Middle English dippen, from Old English dyppan; see dheub- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. N., sense 15, back-formation from DIPPY.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.