Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nip It In The Bud

During the Bay Area Senior Advocates annual breakfast/meeting yesterday, someone asked where the expression “nip it in the bud” came from.

To nip something in the bud means to stop it during an early stage of its development, before it can mature. Growers frequently pinch or snip off new buds on plants and trees to stop them from sucking up nutrients, thus allowing the remaining buds to grow larger. The phrase first appeared in print in the late 16th century.

As a noun, there are six separate words spelled n-i-p; as a verb, there are two.
  • a hill or a crag
  • a shortened form of catnip
  • a sharp remark; a sharp bite; pungent flavor; the crushing effect of ice on the sides of a vessel; a pickpocket; a miser; pincers; a small portion
  • a small quantity of liquor
  • an offensive term for a Japanese
  • a shortened form of nipple
  • to pinch, bite, or squeeze; to seal a glass tube by pressing together the heated end of the neck; to compress sharply; to rebuke; to secure a rope by twisting it around something; to crush a hull with ice floes; to cut close; to extinguish a cigarette by pinching off the lit end; to arrest someone; to steal; to move rapidly; to defeat by a narrow margin; to cause pain in freezing temperatures; to check the growth of a plant
And remember: there is no nip it in the butt unless you're talking about your dog.

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