nipple

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From earlier neple, nypil, *neble, believed to be a diminutive of nib, neb (tip, point), equivalent to nib +‎ -le.

Pronunciation[edit]

A woman's breasts, with the nipple indicated.
a pipe nipple ("connector")
spoke nipples

Noun[edit]

nipple (plural nipples)

  1. (anatomy) The projection of a mammary gland from which, on female mammals, milk is secreted. [from 16th c.]
  2. A mechanical device through which liquids or gases can be passed in a regulated manner. [from 16th c.]
  3. An artificial nipple (definition 1) used for bottle-feeding infants. [from 17th c.]
  4. Any small physical protrusion, such as the lumps on the F and J keys on American keyboards.
  5. Any small physical protrusion on an automotive, a machine part or any other part that fits into a groove on another part.
  6. (now chiefly historical) A perforated segment that fits into the muzzle of a breech-loading gun, on which the percussion cap is fixed. [from 19th c.]
    • 2013, Philipp Meyer, The Son, Simon & Schuster 2014, p. 23:
      I could tell he didn't agree but he went to the corner and took up his squirrel gun, feeling the nipple for a percussion cap.
  7. (chiefly US) A short tube threaded at both ends, used as a connector. [from 19th c.]
  8. An internally threaded piece which holds a bicycle spoke in place on the rim. [from 20th c.]
    Turn the nipples on to the bicycle spokes only one turn, for each spoke on the new wheel all the way around until they are all snug, then check alignment.

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