clip (v.1)

"to cut or sever with a sharp instrument," c. 1200, from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse klippa, Swedish klippa, Danish klippe "clip, shear, cut"), which is probably echoic. Related: Clipped; clipping.

Meaning "to pronounce words in a shortened form" is from 1520s. The verb has a long association with shady activities, originally especially in reference to cutting or shaving metal from coins (c. 1400), but later extended to swindles from the sense "to shear sheep," hence clip-joint "place that overcharges outrageously" (1933, American English, a term from Prohibition).

To clip (someone's) wings, figuratively, "put a check on one's ambition" (1590s) is from the method of preventing a captive bird from flying.

clip (v.2)

"fasten, hold together by pressure," also (mostly archaic) "to embrace," from Old English clyppan "to embrace, clasp; surround; prize, honor, cherish," from Proto-Germanic *kluppjan (source also of Old Frisian kleppa "to embrace, love," Old High German klaftra, German klafter "fathom" (on notion of outstretched arms). Also compare Lithuanian glėbys "armful," globti "to embrace."

Meaning "to fasten, bind" is early 14c. Meaning "to fasten with clips" is from 1902. Related: Clipped. Original sense of the verb is preserved in U.S. football penalty (see clipping (n.1)).

clip (n.1)

"something for attaching or holding," mid-14c., probably from clip (v.2). Meaning "receptacle containing several cartridges for a repeating firearm" is from 1901. Meaning "piece of jewelry fastened by a clip" is from 1937. This is also the source of paper clip (1854). Old English had clypp "an embrace."

clip (n.2)

mid-15c., clips, "shears," from clip (v.1). Meaning "act of clipping" is from 1825, originally of sheep-shearing, later of haircuts. Meaning "rate of speed" is 1867 (compare clipper). Meaning "an extract from a movie" is from 1958.

updated on January 28, 2018

Definitions of clip from WordNet
clip (n.)
a metal frame or container holding cartridges; can be inserted into an automatic gun;
Synonyms: cartridge holder / cartridge clip / magazine
clip (n.)
an instance or single occasion for some event;
he could do ten at a clip
Synonyms: time
clip (n.)
any of various small fasteners used to hold loose articles together;
clip (n.)
an article of jewelry that can be clipped onto a hat or dress;
clip (n.)
the act of clipping or snipping;
Synonyms: clipping / snip
clip (n.)
a sharp slanting blow;
he gave me a clip on the ear
clip (v.)
sever or remove by pinching or snipping;
Synonyms: nip / nip off / snip / snip off
clip (v.)
run at a moderately swift pace;
Synonyms: trot / jog
clip (v.)
attach with a clip;
clip the papers together
clip (v.)
cultivate, tend, and cut back the growth of;
Synonyms: snip / crop / trim / lop / dress / prune / cut back
clip (v.)
terminate or abbreviate before its intended or proper end or its full extent;
Synonyms: curtail / cut short
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