There are 2 main definitions of dip in English:

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dip 1

Pronunciation: /dip/

verb (dips, dipping, dipped)

1 [with object] (dip something in/into) Put or let something down quickly or briefly in or into (liquid): he dipped a brush in the paint
More example sentences
  • Have each child dip his hand in brown paint on press onto one side of the paper.
  • The woman constantly dipped her fingers into water to moisten the flax and keep it from breaking.
  • Thetis gives birth to a son, Achilles, whom she attempts to make immortal by dipping him in the magical waters of the River Styx.
1.1 [no object] (dip into) Put a hand or tool into (a bag or container) in order to take something out: Ian dipped into his briefcase and pulled out a photograph
More example sentences
  • Using a large metal scoop, he dipped into the barrel and poured some dark colored beans into his cupped hand.
  • Ogden ignored him, dipped into his briefcase a second time and produced another photofit.
  • She dipped into her purse and pulled out ten dollars; she was blissful and her boyfriend was in shock.
1.2 [no object] (dip into) Spend from or make use of (one’s financial resources): you won’t have to dip into your savings
More example sentences
  • In order to fund the uptick in spending, households are dipping into savings.
  • Since then, only Sri Lanka has dipped into the funds by spending 4.5 million yen to buy nine used trucks to clean septic tanks.
  • Many graduate students would benefit from dipping into its resources.
draw on, use, make use of, have recourse to, spend
1.3 [no object] (dip into) Read only parts of (a publication) or explore (a subject) in a desultory manner.
Example sentences
  • This is a book to dip into, rather than read at a gallop.
  • This is a book to dip into, not to read from cover to cover.
  • I just hope that they actually read it instead of dipping into it, though the excellence of the index may well encourage the latter.
1.4Take (tobacco) orally.
Example sentences
  • Admitted to Harvard Business School, he sat in the back of the classroom dipping snuff and spitting into a cup.
  • I also knew a guy that worked in there in the paw room that dipped Copenhagen snuff, just like I used to do.
  • Stewart was capable of dipping snuff, puffing a cigar and chewing Nicorette gum all at once.
1.5Immerse (sheep) in a chemical solution that kills parasites.
Example sentences
  • In particular, we are concerned that some farmers have been using unauthorised chemicals to dip sheep or letting freshly dipped sheep access streams.
  • In fact every sheep, whatever its age, would be dipped in a plunge bath containing the correct solution of a ministry approved scab dip.
  • Twenty-one sheep were dipped to free them from attached ticks, and liberated on the central area.
1.6Make (a candle) by immersing a wick repeatedly in hot wax: (as adjective dipped) dipped candles are made using simple equipment
More example sentences
  • So it was decided to make the Christmas-tree candles by dipping.
  • Most Western Reserve families during the mid-19th century manufactured candles by dipping outdoors or in the kitchen.
  • We will make candles by dipping and by using molds of different kinds.
1.7 informal, dated Baptize (someone) by immersion in water.
2 [no object] Sink, drop, or slope downward: swallows dipped and soared the sun had dipped below the horizon
More example sentences
  • By the third day on the road, they had fallen into a pleasing routine, switching drivers every couple hours and setting up camp when the sun started dipping below the western horizon.
  • And at long last, the sun finally dipped below the horizon.
  • The sun had dipped below the horizon much earlier, but it was a warm night for the end of September so the carnival stayed busy until its closing at nine o'clock.
sink, set, drop, go/drop down, fall, descend;
disappear, vanish
slope down, descend, go down;
drop away, fall, sink
2.1(Of a level or amount) become lower or smaller, typically temporarily: the president’s popularity has dipped audiences dipped below 600,000 for the series
More example sentences
  • Yet, there are enough Labour rebels that if the margin of victory dips below the triple digits and gets anywhere close to 50, the pressure on Blair to give way to Brown will be great.
  • Margins will dip slightly ‘below the midpoint of the 50 per cent range’ thanks to increased Flash inventory.
  • The amount may dip to a tiny fraction of a percent if the idea represents a slight improvement in an established product, such as a better knob in a car.
decrease, fall, drop, fall off, decline, diminish, dwindle, slump, plummet, plunge
2.2 [with object] Lower or move (something) downward: the plane dipped its wings
More example sentences
  • It was as if the plane was dipping its wings in greeting to the 1.25 million people assembled below.
  • The sailors let out a lusty cheer and one of the planes dipped his wings in reply.
  • He dipped his muzzle downwards, slowly, closing his eyes for a brief moment in remnants of a formality that was not welcome.


1A brief swim: she went for a dip in a pool
More example sentences
  • Now swimming of course can be anything; it could mean going down to the beach and having a bit of a dip, doing lap swimming, or just throwing yourself into the water occasionally.
  • We enjoyed a sandy off-road diversion and the briefest of dips in the North Atlantic, with its warming Gulf Stream magic.
  • You can enjoy a complimentary dip in the pool plus a glass of draught beer, and kids can have soft drinks and snacks.
swim, bathe;
splash, paddle
1.1A brief immersion in liquid: a dip in hot water is prescribed to destroy fruit flies
More example sentences
  • Just an occasional dip in water keeps them looking almost as fresh as newly plucked, natural ones.
  • Watch for clothing such as a coat sleeve or shirt tails. You just may give them a dip in the toilet.
  • After the chipotle topping, we give it a dip in the Belgian chocolate type of your choice.
immersion, plunge, ducking, dunking
1.2 short for sheep dip.
Example sentences
  • Keep the sheep immersed in the dip for one minute or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • But if cypermethrin in the dip leaks into local burns, it can kill insects and fish.
  • Hydro-carbon compounds in the dip would cause plastic containers to bulge and explode.
1.3A cursory read of a publication or a superficial exploration of a subject: a quick dip into this document
More example sentences
  • The book contains a new delight with every dip into it.
  • A quick dip into some of them will give you an outline of what is involved.
  • So a quick dip into the book, skimming over areas and concentrating on some, can be quite refreshing.
2A thick sauce in which pieces of food are dunked before eating: tasty garlic dip
More example sentences
  • We began with salmon roll sushi which was presented with the Wasabe and soy sauce dip.
  • The kids, meanwhile, munched happily on a pizza (frozen variety), pasta with tomato sauce and chips with a garlic mayonnaise dip.
  • The chickpea croquettes called falafel and the ever-popular chickpea dip, hummus, are both very good.
3A brief downward slope followed by an upward one: the road’s precipitous dips and turns
More example sentences
  • Just after the bottom of the hill however we slammed into a slight dip in the slope.
  • Leaving the road, they climbed another hill and found a small dip at the bottom that would be good for sleeping.
  • Rainwater routinely collects in a dip under Waddington Road Bridge during extreme weather because of drainage problems.
slope, incline, decline, descent;
hollow, concavity, depression, basin, indentation
3.1An act of sinking or dropping briefly before rising again: a dip in the share price
More example sentences
  • Cheung's external stillness demonstrates just how she is able to convey a range of tamped-down emotions with the merest of movements - a dip of the head, a sashay of the hips.
  • With a quick dip of his left wing he easily dodged the shots aimed for him.
  • If we were in too much of a hurry to come down, we would greet you with a friendly dip of the wing.
4 technical The extent to which something is angled downward from the horizontal, in particular.
Example sentences
  • However, high cliffs make access to the base of sections difficult and dangerous to log, and the low angle of dip minimizes the practicality of logging smaller cliffs.
  • The structural style comprised half-grabens bounded by faults whose dip and downthrow were mostly to the south.
  • The variation in dip and orientation of the foliation within the body defines a broad D3 antiform.
4.1 (also magnetic dip) The angle made with the horizontal at any point by the earth’s magnetic field, or by a magnetic needle in response to this.
Example sentences
  • However, he had no idea what this dip might be elsewhere on Earth.
  • As the airplane turns, the force that results from the magnetic dip causes the float assembly to swing in the same direction that the float turns.
  • It is a good story to tell in class, not only because it teaches students about magnetic dip, but because it is an excellent example of what makes a scientific experiment.
4.2 Geology The angle a stratum makes with the horizontal: the cliff profile tends to be dominated by the dip of the beds
More example sentences
  • This is due to poor exposure, shallow dip of the strata, and relatively few stratigraphic wells.
  • Whatever their origin, polygonal fault systems become less isotropic with increase in regional dip and are truly polygonal only when the regional dip is near horizontal.
  • It is now commonly accepted that the dip of the steeper part of a listric normal fault is approximately 60 deg.
4.3 Astronomy & Surveying The apparent depression of the horizon from the line of observation, due to the curvature of the earth.
Example sentences
  • That causes a curvature of the light path, which reduces the dip (usually by about 7%).
  • As the resolution of the normal eye in broad daylight is about one minute of arc, this dip is an easily visible angle.
  • When the fore and back horizons are brought into line, the sextant reading is twice the angle of dip, assuming that the sextant is free from index error.
5US informal Powdered or finely cut tobacco that is held in the mouth, typically between the gums and lip, rather than smoked: he threw out all of his cans of dip and swore off tobacco
6North American informal A stupid or foolish person.
Example sentences
  • He's such a dip sometimes.
  • Joe, you're such a dip.
  • Yep, I was a total dip, but I don't care.
7 informal, dated A pickpocket.
Example sentences
  • "Without a doubt," I said, "You're the most beautiful dip I've ever encountered."
  • It would be of no profit to such men to buy a stolen watch from a dip (pickpocket) and substitute imitation works in a solid gold case.
  • I take pride in being a thief, and what's more, I am the best dip in the States.
8 archaic A candle made by immersing a wick repeatedly in hot wax.


dip one's toe into (or in)

Put one’s toe briefly in (water), typically to check the temperature.
Example sentences
  • I'm not going to go in right now, just wanted to dip my toe in the water and see how it felt.
  • Obviously nobody had any objection to this and Danielle made a huge show of dipping her toe in the water, clutching her arms and sliding silkily into the water.
  • Steve slipped off one of his sandals and dipped his toe into the water.
1.1Begin to do or test (something) cautiously: the company has already dipped its toe into the market
More example sentences
  • While in San Francisco, Faulkner began dipping his toe in stand-up comedy.
  • In fact, up until 2003 (when he began dipping his toe in the cop film genre), I didn't think Shelton made anything but sports comedies.
  • As always the sensible advice is, if you fancy it, dip your toe in, but don't invest money you can't afford to lose.


Old English dyppan, of Germanic origin; related to deep.

  • deep from Old English:

    The word deep is related to dip (Old English) and dive (Old English), and in Old English could also mean depth (Late Middle English). The phrase in deep water, ‘in trouble or difficulty’, has biblical origins. The writer of one of the Psalms begged, ‘Let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters’. The deep waters of a swimming pool did not become familiar enough to provide linguistic inspiration until the 20th century. If you go off the deep end you have an emotional outburst, especially of anger, and to jump (or be thrown) in at the deep end is to face a difficult undertaking with little or no preparation or experience.

Words that rhyme with dip

blip, chip, clip, drip, equip, flip, grip, gyp, hip, kip, lip, nip, outstrip, pip, quip, rip, scrip, ship, sip, skip, slip, snip, strip, tip, toodle-pip, trip, whip, yip, zip

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dip

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There are 2 main definitions of dip in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌdēˌīˈpē/


1 Computing Document image processing, a system for the digital storage and retrieval of documents as scanned images.
2 Electronics Dual in-line package, a package for an integrated circuit consisting of a rectangular sealed unit with two parallel rows of downward-pointing pins.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: DIP

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