"something that strongly attracts attention," 1590s, from French cynosure (16c.), from Latin Cynosura, literally "dog's tail," an old name of the constellation (now Ursa Minor) containing what is now (but was not in ancient times) the North Star, the focus of navigation, at the tip of its tail; from Greek kynosoura, literally "dog's tail," from kyōn (genitive kynos; from PIE root *kwon- "dog") + oura "tail" (see arse). Apparently in ancient times the whole constellation was used as a rough indicator of the celestial north pole. Related: Cynosural.
1845, from French acrobate "tightrope-walker" (14c.) and directly from a Latinized form of Greek akrobates "rope dancer, gymnastic performer," which is related to akrobatos "going on tip-toe, climbing up high," from akros "topmost, at the point end" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce") + Greek agential element -bates "one that goes, one that treads (in some manner), one that is based," from -batos, verbal adjective from stem of bainein "to go, walk, step" (from PIE root *gwa- "to go, come").
1774, "glacier humped like a hill;" 1820 as "detached piece of a glacier or ice pack at sea," partial loan-translation of Dutch ijsberg, literally "ice mountain," from ijs "ice" (see ice (n.)) + berg "mountain" (from PIE root *bhergh- (2) "high," with derivatives referring to hills and hill-forts.). Similar formation in Norwegian isberg, Danish isbjerg.
Earlier English terms were sea-hill (1690s), island of ice (1610s). Phrase tip of the iceberg in a figurative sense (in allusion to most of it being unseen underwater) first recorded 1962. Iceberg lettuce attested from 1893, apparently originally a trade name.
late 14c., nippen, "to pinch sharply; to bite suddenly," probably from or related to Middle Low German nipen "to nip, to pinch," German nippen, Middle Dutch nipen "to pinch," Dutch nijpen, Old Norse hnippa "to prod," but the exact evolution of the stem is obscure. Related: Nipped; nipping.
Meaning "break off the tip by pinching" is from c. 1400. Sense of "blast as by frost, check the growth or vigor of" is from 1580s. To nip (something) in the bud in the figurative sense of "kill or destroy in the first stage of growth" is recorded from c. 1600. Slang nip in, nip out, etc., in which the sense of the verb is "move rapidly or nimbly" is attested from 1825.