1985 had been a pip

< Previous | Next >

jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
Henry Bowers was here because he had been convicted of killing his father in the late fall of 1958 –it had been a famous year for murder trials, all right; when it came to murder trials, 1958 had been a pip.

Source: It by Stephen King

Pip has many meanings but does not mean in this context? I could not figure it out. Would it mean a spotlight as a blip on a radar?

Thank you.
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It's more of a British expression, but I'd describe it as outstanding or special.

    WRF dictionary: someone or something wonderful or amazing
    We use it occasionally here too; Archie on All in the Family used to (sarcastically) call Edith a pip. But it's probably dated or regional.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's more of a British expression, but I'd describe it as outstanding or special.
    The OED says it is originally and mainly U.S. and doesn't offer any British examples. I hadn't heard it before.

    3. colloq. (orig. and chiefly U.S.). Something remarkably good; an excellent or very attractive person or thing. Cf. pippin n. 4b.
    1900 Dial. Notes 2 49 Pip, a pippin.
    1915 Mansfield (Ohio) News 2/2 It was a pip of a finish. It was a pip of a crowd. It was a pip of a day.
    1950 New Yorker 14 Oct. 106/2 A pip of a shiner.
    1987 New Yorker 9 Feb. 92/3 He has written a pip of a meeting between Jerry and the therapist in an empty house.
    2004 Daily News (N.Y.) (Nexis) 16 Apr. 3 After surviving 13 weeks of bickering and backstabbing, cigar mogul Bill Rancic landed himself a pip of a new job.
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It's more of a British expression [...]
    WRF dictionary: someone or something wonderful or amazing
    That definition is taken from our American dictionary, and isn't given by our BE one (Collins). :)

    This usage is characteristically British (or so they say - it's from before my time):
    Toodle pip!

    It's common in BE to use "it gives me the pip"
    1. brit austral nz south african slang a bad temper or depression (esp in the phrase give (someone) the pip)
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    That definition is taken from our American dictionary, and isn't given by our BE one (Collins). :)
    I didn't realize the distinction. Thanks.

    As I recall, the movie was one of those African sets with men in khakis, pith helmets, and "shirts with button provided" if anyone remembers Monty Python. I only saw it 45 or so years ago. The line was, "And she's a pip!"

    And it was an old movie then.
     
    Last edited:

    jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    Thank you for this insightful feedback. In the context of this scene, pip has a negative connotation. There had been numerous murders in the city. The Urban definition seems the most fitting.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top