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19 comments on this post.
  1. Alyssa:

    Thanks! I have my students reading “Peppermints in the Parlor” and Kipper says peppermints give him “the pip.” I was at a loss to explain… it now makes sense!

  2. tom:

    I have heard the expression “Squeeze them till their pips squeak” meaning “hold their feet to the fire”.
    A pip is a plumbers term for the valve that releases steam from a radiator to relieve pressure. They make a “squealing” sound when releasing a small amount of steam under great pressure.

  3. JamesBryson Culp:

    I have heard, oft in Publican places in AngleLand, male persons being greeted or addressed as “Ol’ Pip” As in a phrase such as “Aye, Ol’ Pip, have a Pint with me.” Or to a boy child, “Pip, willst you have a plougman & chips wi’ me ?”

    This and such as this I heard much in pubs, as dogs great and small walked amongst patrons, fourty five years ago (about 1965 when England Scots land and Wales were inhabited principally by the native cultures)

    Be of good heart.

    Dancing on clouds,

    Keep it up !

    JimmyBryson Culp
    an American of Scot Presbyterian & nordic heritage

  4. Togi:

    My mother used “the pip” to refer to her monthly period. Apparently, it was an expression in the South for menstruation, like “a visitor from Charleston” or “time of the month.”

  5. Glenn:

    My mother (born in 1914), if she heard someone hicup particularly loud, high pitched and abruptly, would say, ” you sound like a chicken with the pip.”

  6. kiel:

    i was recently watching the movie ‘WILD WILD WEST’ with will smith and one caracter says to an other ….’YOU SIR ARE A ‘pip’ id fallow you into the deapths of hell” or something along those lines and i was wondering what that use of “pip” was reffering to…if anyone know pls respond thanks

  7. George:

    It’s “You sir, are a pip. I would follow you into the jaws of Cerberus…”

  8. Mike:

    My grandmother was born in 1998 and lived to be 106 years. She would call me a pip as a young boy.

    I was her favorite, which she made no qualms about with the other grandchildren. They knew I was the first and held a special place. They also knew this position as one of being undeserved.

    She was Irish with parents that immigrated to the States. She would use the term when I was having some of my more “rambunctious creative boy” moments. I am now 61 and at family gatherings there always seems to be a story featuring me to the amusement of my children.

    I have prayed that my children do not behave as I have in the past and they have not, praise God. No pips.

  9. Brian Roper:

    I can’t quite remember whether it was in the short stories of Saki, V. S. Pritchett or William Trevor I first came across “the pip”.

    The thing that most gives me the pip is the replacement of “the pip” by “the pips” (utterly abominable).

  10. Ragg Tagg:

    Seems to be one of those words that, when used as slang, can mean various things depending on the circumstance and inflection. I like the affectionate meaning. “You’re a pip, dear.” Meaning something like “you’re a sweetheart.”
    Of course, if you say it with a lot of sarcasm or out of the side of your mouth it could mean “you are a pain in the as*.”

  11. Eileen Donnelly:

    I grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada and we used the word “pip” for skipping school. We would “pip off” or say we were “on the pip”. My granddad was from Bristol, England and my nan from NL but I don’t know where that usage, originated. Anyone else ever hear this?

  12. Pat:

    That’s interesting and funny. My dad used to always tell us we had the epizootic or the pip. He is 91 and was raised in California. His father was British from England.

  13. Jain:

    I have also heard of the pip and epizootic (I heard it epizoodic) as meaning an illness with no name. My grandmother also called such things as the pipseralles of the dibberybibs. Her family was German, my grandfather’s was English.

    Now where did that come from?

  14. dave:

    I went to school in the early 50’s in St. John’s, Newfoundland, ( a British Colony until Confederation with Canada in 1949 ), when someone decided to skip school un be known to their parents, it was referred to as ‘being on the pip’. Why that term I could never figure out but it was well understood what was happening at the time. The Irish Christian Brothers certainly understood the term and punishment with the strap followed.

  15. Bet:

    My mother always called her menesration as having the pip.

  16. Diane Hinchey:

    What does it mean when a grandmother calls her precious granddaughter her “Little Pipin”?

  17. Marge Lawrence:

    Yes. Back in the 1950s, my mother used to refer to feeling unwell as “having the pip.” I also seem to remember a person being referred to as “a real pip”; in other words, a real character.

  18. Anonymous:

    My grandfather taught us grandchildren to call him Pip. I was born in 1943. I and all the cousins called him Pip. He called us girls sis sos and the boys Pip Juies. I was wondering where these names came from or if he just made it up.

  19. Cheryl:

    In the South when a woman had her Monthly it was often called The Pip.

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