nip at

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nip at

1. To give (someone or something) little bites. Their dog kept nipping at my heels whenever I walked through the house. I know some people go crazy for the treatment, but I can't stand the feeling of fish nipping at my feet!
2. To sting (a part of one's body) with cold. The air had just started nipping at our noses by the time we reached the house. There's nothing like settling down in front of a fire with a hot drink after the cold wind has been nipping at your cheeks on a long, satisfying bike ride.
See also: nip

nip at someone or something

to bite at someone or something. The dog nipped at the visitor, but didn't cause any real harm. A small dog nipped at my heels.
See also: nip

nip at

v.
1. To grab and pinch or bite: The fish nipped at our feet when we walked in the pond.
2. To bite or sting with the cold: The wind was nipping at our nose.
3. To sip some drink, often alcoholic, in small amounts: They were caught nipping at the whiskey again.
See also: nip
References in classic literature ?
The mosquitoes made merry over her, biting her firm, round arms and nipping at her bare insteps.
Effect of nipping at various stages on yield and yield components of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.).
The taste test feeds the speculation that cleaning developed from opportunistic nipping at other fish, Grutter says.
ontrol plot produced tallest plants (78.80 cm) whereas maximum yield (1792 kg/ha) was obtained in nipping at ground level with rows 40 cm apart.
Singh and Diwakar (1995) revealed that foliage nipping at early stages of crop could increase number of branches while restricting profuse vegetative growth thereby promoting crop yield.
On the one hand nipping at prescribed growth stages could improve yield of the cr p while on the other hand during time the chickpea in the field is usually a shortage of fodder and poor farmers could not afford to buy forage at distant locations, so chickpea may provide them an opportunity to fetch green fodder for their livestock.