Word of the Day: nick

 
 
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Word Reference
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Word of the Day
 
November 17, 2015
 
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nick (noun, verb) sound LISTEN icon
 
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Nick is not only a nickname for Nicholas. A nick is a small cut or mark on a person or a thing, and as a verb it means 'to cut or to make a small mark on something.' In British English, nick is a slang word for prison and, as a verb, it can mean either 'to arrest someone' or 'to steal something.' 
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Example sentences
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Do you want to buy my old cell phone? It has a few nicks but it works fine.
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Paul nicked his chin while shaving.
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Josh spent three years in the nick after robbing a shop.
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The police nicked the robbers as they left the bank.
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Somebody nicked my purse out of my bag!
 
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Multi-word forms
 

in the nick of time: at the last possible moment. Example: "I got to the airport in the nick of time and made my flight!"

in good/bad nick (UK): in relatively good/bad condition. Example: "The car was old, but it was in good nick for its age."

nick off (mainly Australian slang): to leave quickly. Example: "Scott was angry with Jane, so he told her to nick off."

 
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Did you know?
 
"Old Nick" is one of the many expressions British English speakers use as an informal name for the Devil. It was first used in the 17th century but became much less common after the 1800s.
 
Origin
 
Nick dates back to the late 15th century. Its origin is uncertain, but it may be related to the Old English word gehnycned (wrinkled) and the Old Norse word hnykla (to wrinkle).
 
 
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