a. Either of two fleshy structures that surround the opening of the mouth in humans and other mammals.
b. In humans, the smooth brownish to reddish border of the lip.
2. A structure or part that encircles or bounds an orifice, as:
a. Anatomy A labium.
b. The margin of flesh around a wound.
c. Either of the margins of the aperture of a gastropod shell.
d. A rim, as of a vessel, bell, or crater.
3. Botany One of the two divisions of a bilabiate corolla or calyx, as in the snapdragon, or the modified median petal of an orchid flower.
4. The tip of a pouring spout, as on a pitcher.
5. Slang Insolent talk.
tr.v. lipped, lip·ping, lips
a. To touch the lips to.
b. To kiss.
2. To utter.
3. To lap or splash against.
4. Sports To hit a golf ball so that it touches the edge of (the hole) without dropping in.
[Middle English, from Old English lippa; see leb- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.