\ ˈnik How to pronounce nick (audio) \

Definition of nick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a small notch, groove, or chip For one thing, formal chairs, beds and tables require greater vigilance on the part of the owners to protect against nicks and spills.— Sarah Collins
b : a small cut or wound got a few nicks from shaving
c : a break in one strand of two-stranded DNA caused by a missing phosphodiester bond
2 : a final critical moment in the nick of time
3 British, informal : prison also : police station … he said to me, "And how was it in the nick? Did they beat you in there at all?" — Colin MacInnes
4 British, informal : condition in good nick


nicked; nicking; nicks

Definition of nick (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to jot down : record
2a : to make a nick in : notch, chip … her favorite haunts are … department stores where she scores deep discounts on nicked furniture sold off the floor.— Heather Lobdell
b : to cut into or wound slightly nicked himself shaving I didn't have time to get my glove up, and the ball nicked my ear as it went past me.— Steve Wulf
3 : to cut short cold weather, which nicked steel and automobile outputTime
4 : to catch at the right point or time
5 : cheat, overcharge "A cry of anguish ascended to high heavens," reported Business Week in 1933, "when millions of white-collar workers discovered that they had been nicked for a considerable percentage of their earnings when J. P. Morgan and partners had paid no income tax at all."— Cynthia Crossen
6a slang, British : arrest The new owner, my brother, had installed all the window grilles and had them wired on a direct alarm to the police station so that if anyone tried to enter that way they would be nicked.— Dick Francis
b slang, British : steal To discover at the last moment that 24 cases of Schweppes had been nicked from the cellar was a horrible shock.Sunday Times

intransitive verb

1 : to make petty attacks : snipe
2 : to complement one another genetically and produce superior offspring

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Examples of nick in a Sentence


There are a couple of nicks on the painting. His face was covered with nicks and cuts after shaving. She spent a night in the nick. an economy in bad nick


He was nicked on the shoulder by a bullet. She was nicked for the theft. I nicked a couple of cars when I was younger.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The justices even agreed to a faster briefing and argument schedule to get the case heard and decided in the nick of time. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "The Trump administration scrambles to add citizenship to the census," 9 July 2019 Cameroon secured their first win of the tournament on matchday three, just in the nick of time to qualify for the knockout stages., "2019 Women's World Cup: England vs Cameroon Preview - Where to Watch, Live Stream, Team News & More," 22 June 2019 But just in the nick of time, Ali Stroker (Oklahoma!) grabbed the Drama Desk Award to vault back into first. Ben Zauzmer, The Hollywood Reporter, "Tony Awards: Predicting the Musical Winners Using Math," 7 June 2019 As luck would have it, Amazon's here to help us out just in the nick of time. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "People Are Obsessed With This $27 Swimsuit on Amazon—and Now It's a Best-Seller," 29 May 2019 All Star Pre Game/Intros 3- Malice at the Palace 4- LAL-SAC Gm 6 Officiating — nick wright (@getnickwright) February 19, 2018 The NBA took major steps this year to make sure that the All-Star Game would be more competitive. Sarah Todd,, "NBA All-Star pregame show was the worst 40 minutes of the weekend | Sarah Todd," 19 Feb. 2018 In truth, what Palace were getting was a 29-year-old who was more of a dictator of the tempo in matches, a player who possessed an exceptional ability to read the game, nick the ball and lay it off to players capable of driving at the opposition., "Yohan Cabaye's Time at Crystal Palace Was Underappreciated, But His Arrival Was a Landmark Moment," 5 July 2018 Farag said the steel cable wrapped around his SUV, which had serpentine nicks across the passenger side. Tony Briscoe,, "Man hurt, Michigan Avenue closed just north of Millennium Park after scaffold accident," 8 May 2018 But such cracks are more likely to be caused by a nick, as could happen if the blade is struck by flying debris, or by defects in the metal, experts said. Jason Laughlin,, "Deadly plane failure raises questions about safety of widely used engine," 18 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But if college grads’ debts have hardly even nicked their income advantage over the less fortunate, there is little reason to feel especially sorry for them as a group and no reason to start chucking other people’s money at them. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Myths of Student-Loan Debt," 11 July 2019 Hence, any pool player whose cue ball or target ball is behind the eight ball is in the perilous position of having to sink another ball without colliding with or even nicking the eight. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Language insights into the games that people play," 22 June 2019 With one down, Anderson walked Joey Votto, losing a nine-pitch battle in which Votto fouled off three 3-2 pitches, then nicked Eugenio Suárez on the hand with a pitch. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reds 11, Brewers 7: June swoon continues as pitching woes result in fifth consecutive defeat," 21 June 2019 Golden State won without him, 106–105, surrendering a fourth-quarter lead, improbably regaining it, and surviving when the Warriors forward Draymond Green nicked a last-second three-point attempt by the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Kevin Durant and Achilles, Two Heroes Who Had Decisions to Make," 11 June 2019 Then remove the seed, nick them and sow them in a potting mixture covering once their thickness. Tom Maccubbin,, "Leaving seed pods on canna plants isn’t necessary," 7 June 2019 Lambert looked strong even as the Cubs nicked him for a run in the sixth inning to cut the score to 2-1. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Peter Lambert dominates, setting franchise strikeout mark in a debut as Rockies beat Cubs," 6 June 2019 Razor bumps form when hair is either nicked irregularly or when hairs are curled under the skin and become inflamed, explains Talakoub. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "How To Get Rid Of Annoying Razor Bumps," 21 Feb. 2019 Peru settled back into their rhythm and Guerrero nicked the ball past Samuel Umtiti in the box but couldn't beat Lloris with a low shot which was too close to the Spurs stopper., "France 1-0 Peru: Incas Eliminated as Unconvincing Les Bleus Book Their Place in the Knockout Stages," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nick.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nick


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for nick


Middle English nyke, probably alteration of nocke nock

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Learn More about nick

Dictionary Entries near nick


nicht wahr?



nickar nut



Statistics for nick

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nick

The first known use of nick was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for nick



English Language Learners Definition of nick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small broken area that appears on something after something else hits or cuts it
: a small cut on your skin
British slang : a prison or police station



English Language Learners Definition of nick (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cut or damage a small part of the surface of (something) : to put a nick in (something)
: to make a small cut on (someone)
: to catch and arrest (someone)


\ ˈnik How to pronounce nick (audio) \

Kids Definition of nick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small cut or chip in a surface
2 : the last moment We arrived at the dock in the nick of time.


nicked; nicking

Kids Definition of nick (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a small cut or chip in


\ ˈnik How to pronounce nick (audio) \

Medical Definition of nick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a break in one strand of two-stranded DNA caused by a missing phosphodiester bond

Medical Definition of nick (Entry 2 of 2)

: to produce a nick in (DNA) circular DNA that has been nicked and closed

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More from Merriam-Webster on nick

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nick

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nick

Spanish Central: Translation of nick

Nglish: Translation of nick for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nick for Arabic Speakers

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characterized by aphorism

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