\ 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

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 That 100-year-old marble reminds me that nicks, cuts, stains, and mishaps all come together to create the most beautiful patina, so don't sweat the small stuff. Barbara King, House Beautiful, "Jeannette Whitson on Creating a New House With Timeless Appeal," 15 May 2013 Kim, Kourtney, and Kris arrived just in the nick of time for the baby's birth, meanwhile Tristan had been there for a little longer. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Kim Kardashian's First Face-to-Face Interaction With Tristan Thompson Post-Cheating Was So Awkward," 14 Nov. 2018 Photo: nick oxford/Reuters Markets may also be too sanguine about China’s ability to keep buying Iranian oil. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Oil Bears’ Teeth Look a Little Blunt," 24 Oct. 2018 To prevent nicks and possible infection or inflammation in the hair follicles, Marchbein recommends using a sharp razor, and changing out the blade every two to three shaves. Kayleigh Donahue, Allure, "Allure's Guide to Hair Removal From Your Brows to Your Bikini Line," 6 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Too bad he got nicked a little bit there (a sprained left ankle in the first quarter) and had to come out and get his ankle taped and all that. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "How Rashaad Penny’s big run against Green Bay showed he’s going to be an even bigger factor in Seattle’s offense," 20 Nov. 2018 Tom Brady got nicked in practice, bled a little and got stitches, causing everyone to freak out about it because the NFL is the most popular sport in the country and that’s what people do. Conor Orr,, "A Comprehensive Guide to Tom Brady's Hand Injury," 20 Jan. 2018 Remember, not all injuries are required to be listed, and few players are not nicked up to some extent at this late date. Profootballdoc,, "Was Tom Brady’s season-ending slump due to age, Achilles or anomaly?," 10 Jan. 2018 Do be sure to stick to something with a dull edge for this operation, as a sharp blade can easily nick the fabric. Jolie Kerr, Town & Country, "How to Clean Table Linens," 10 Feb. 2017 This is fake news, there's only one player at West Brom.#WBA — The Sack Race (@thesackrace) February 16, 2018 Right, which four West Brom players was it that nicked a taxi from Maccies drive-thru in Barcelona?, "Taxi for West Brom! Twitter Reacts as Four Unnamed Players Allegedly Steal Spanish Cab," 16 Feb. 2018 Godley got nicked for a run on an RBI groundout by Bryan Holaday following singles by J.T. Riddle and Lewis Brinson. Harvey Fialkov, azcentral, "Zack Godley's curveball helps Diamondbacks fend off Marlins in win," 26 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

24 Mar 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

Comments on nick

What made you want to look up nick? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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