he tipped me a wink


Senior Member
‘Just now he was in the common room, watching TV with the rest of the early birds. I waved to him, and he waved back.’ A grin, startlingly youthful, broke on Ollie’s face. ‘He also tipped me a wink.’
Source: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

In this scene, at the assisted living centre, the speaker is telling Dave about Mr Yummer that he fancied in his youthful days.

Does he tipped me a wink mean exactly he winked at me ? Or does it mean something more ? I am finding the use of the verb tip confusing in this sentence.

Thank you
  • ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    I'd say that it does mean that he winked at me. ("to tip someone a wink" can also mean "to give someone a hint (discreetly).", to give them inside information.)

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it just means "He winked at me."
    I don't think this is an example of "to tip someone the wink" in the sense shown in the WR dictionary:
    tip the wink ⇒ Brit informal to give a hint
    - because (1) the text in the OP has "a wink", not "the wink"; (2) there is no reference (here or in the following words) about the nature of any hint, so "He also tipped me the wink" would be meaningless in this context; and (3) King is an American writer while "to tip the wink" is a British expression, according to the WR dictionary.
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