nick

noun
\ 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

nick

verb
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 British slang : 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 British slang : 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

Examples of nick in a Sentence

Noun 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 Verb 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Then, in the nick of time, Silas arrived at 11:31 p.m. Sydney Page, Washington Post, 17 May 2022 Ruddy personally staved off a Mob war, and averted every possible disaster in the nick of time, and possibly invented a cure for cancer and probably saved the whales. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 28 Apr. 2022 Volunteers are producing replicas of museum websites—and in some cases, this work comes in the nick of time. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, 29 Mar. 2022 For some, the program came just in the nick of time. Brian Metzler, Outside Online, 2 Mar. 2022 She could still be suspended before Tuesday's short program BEIJING – The International Olympic Committee has finally entered the Kamila Valieva fray, and just in the nick of time to try to save these Winter Olympic Games from themselves. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, 12 Feb. 2022 The shoot is finished in the nick of time, before the day’s last swath of golden light disappears behind the hills. Jen Wang, Vogue, 9 Feb. 2022 But while Thony and Garrett are able to stop Fiona’s deportation bus in the nick of time, Gabby is repatriated to Mexico without her children. Max Gao, Los Angeles Times, 7 Feb. 2022 The postponement comes in the nick of time, just two days before Saturday, Jan. 8, when the orchestra had planned to release free tickets to the concert online, by phone, and in person. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 6 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The sponge protects the dolphins from sharp rocks and coral that would otherwise nick their faces. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, 14 Apr. 2022 Ida will likely nick the economy’s growth in the current July-September quarter, though repairs and rebuilding efforts are expected to make up for some of that in the coming months. Christopher Rugaber, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Sep. 2021 Ida will likely nick the economy’s growth in the current July-September quarter, though repairs and rebuilding efforts are expected to regain those losses in the coming months. Christopher Rugaber, chicagotribune.com, 16 Sep. 2021 Ida will likely nick the economy’s growth in the current July-September quarter, though repairs and rebuilding efforts are expected to regain those losses in the coming months. BostonGlobe.com, 16 Sep. 2021 Ida will likely nick the economy's growth in the current July-September quarter, though repairs and rebuilding efforts are expected to regain those losses in the coming months. CBS News, 16 Sep. 2021 Meanwhile, Marquez, gifted with a 3-0 lead, was nicked for a run in each of the first two frames. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, 26 July 2019 Kessel fired a shot that nicked the end of Allen's glove but still beat him off the far post and into the net. Richard Morin, azcentral, 31 Dec. 2019 There’s the famous vampire bat, which nicks the ankles of cattle and other animals and laps the trickling blood. James Gorman, New York Times, 28 Oct. 2019 See More

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.

First Known Use of nick

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for nick

Noun

Middle English nyke, probably alteration of nocke nock

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best razors for women.

Learn More About nick

Time Traveler for nick

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near nick

Nicias

nick

nickar nut

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for nick

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nick.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nick. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for nick

nick

noun
\ 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.

nick

verb
nicked; nicking

Kids Definition of nick (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a small cut or chip in

nick

noun
\ 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

nick

transitive verb

Medical Definition of nick (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on nick

Nglish: Translation of nick for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nick for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!