Difference between Bite and nip

Majalrayo

Senior Member
spanish spain
Hello, I would like to ask what the difference in meaning is between "bite" and "nip". Although they seem to be synonymous, I guess there must be al least some kind of nuance that makes them different. Does "nip" mean a quick and harm free bite?. Thank you
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I do not think that they are synonymous, but do you mean bite and nip as verbs or as nouns?
     

    Majalrayo

    Senior Member
    spanish spain
    as verbs, for example, a sentence in this dictionary is: the dog nipped at her heels. My question is : does it mean that the dog actually bit her, or it only grabbed her in its jaws, if I may say so, just playing with her.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    A nip covers a small area and is sharp and quick; it is like a pinch. A bite is more severe and is usually done with the intention of removing some material.

    To nip at someone's/something's heels is used literally and figuratively. Literally, the dog will use only its front teeth top pinch the skin/shoes; figuratively, it means to put a lot of pressure on someone to speed up their activity.
     

    Majalrayo

    Senior Member
    spanish spain
    Sorry, I think I have made a mistake and the correct expression, as regards my last example, would be: the boss is snipping at our heels......rather than at us
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    No, you did not make a mistake, the writer of "the boss is snipping at our heels" made the mistake. Obviously, this should be "the boss is nipping at our heels" and it is the figurative version of the saying.

    Dogs nip at the heels of sheep and cattle to herd them.
     

    Majalrayo

    Senior Member
    spanish spain
    No, you did not make a mistake, the writer of "the boss is snipping at our heels" made the mistake. Obviously, this should be "the boss is nipping at our heels" and it is the figurative version of the saying.

    Dogs nip at the heels of sheep and cattle to herd them.
    Thank so much, simply gorgeous!, it was a lapsus liguae of mine. Have a nice day. Best regards
     
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