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Tippy vs Tappy - What's the difference?

tippy | tappy |

As an adjective tippy

is fashionable, tip-top.

As a noun tippy

is a dandy.

As a verb tappy is

to lie close to the ground; to lie low or skulk.



Etymology 1

1790, .


(en adjective)
  • (obsolete, colloquial, or, slang) Fashionable, tip-top.
  • * 1806 , Kitty Crotchet, “The Bootees—A New Song”, in The Port Folio , v 2, Philadelphia: John Watts, p 76:
  • Of all the gay beaux, / That sport their smart cloathes, / There's none that my fancy can please, / With their Spencers'' or ''Crops'', / Or woolly ''Foretops'', / Like ''Bob'' with his ''Tippy Bootees .
  • In the height of fashion, excellent, cool.
  • * 1802 , “Ladies Literature”, in New England Quarterly Magazine , v 2, Boston, p 225:
  • I under?tand, however, that there is a di?tinction between the?e names in the city and St. James's; in the latter place you may find fa?hion in the characters of the ton'', the ''ta?te'', the ''etiquette'', &c. in the city they are all the ''tippy'' , the ''thing'', the ''?ort'', &c. and pretty ''things'' they are, Heaven knowns! [sic]—with a ''?ort'' of a cane, which being twelve inches long, one blow of an Iri?hman's ?hillalagh would drive ''twelve yards away.
  • * 1806 , The Port Folio , v 2, Philadelphia: John Watts, p 143:
  • The wig's the thing, the wig, the wig, / Be of the ton a natty sprig, / The thing, the tippy and the twig, / Nor heed who are the truly wise, / For after all, in vulgar eyes, / The wisdom's in the wig.
  • * 1808 , Thomas Morton, “A Cure for the Heart Ache”, in The British Theatre; or, A Collection of Plays , London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, p 10:
  • Rent! you boor!—That, for Sir Hubert!—[Snapping his Fingers .] Ah! Nabob's servants be the tippy —Every thing be done by them so genteely.
  • * 1845 , “The Frog and the Fox”, in The New Monthly Magazine and Humorist , London: Henry Colburn, p 371:
  • As neither of them said “No,” he opened the will, and found that the old lady had left all the accumulated scrapings of a long life of industry to her son William, to aid his “great abilities” in promoting the honour of the family. [. . .] “That'll do, Smugs,” said Bill, and then turning to his brothers, he observed. “Just the tippy , for I was cleaned out. [. . .]”
  • (colloquial, or, slang) Clever, neat, smart.
  • * 1863 [1910], Early Letters of Marcus Dods, D.D. , p 344:
  • She read Renan's Vie de Jésus , and I am now going to lend her the antidote—a tippy little bit of criticism by Pressensé.
  • Of tea, having a large amount of tips, or leaf buds.
  • * 1886 , T.C. Owen, The Tea Planter's Manual , Colombo: A.M. & J. Ferguson, pp 49–50:
  • Before rolling some planters are in the habit of sifting the leaf through a No. 4 sieve, and manufacturing the small leaf and tips that fall through separately. This will add to the appearance of the tea, by making it more tippy , but unless fancy teas are being made will not pay for the time and trouble incurred.


  • (obsolete, colloquial, or, slang) A dandy.
  • * 1798 , “Whim?ical Peculiarities of Expre??ion”, in The Monthly Magazine and British Register , v 6, London: R. Phillips, p 173:
  • Is his dre?s, as we may pre?ume it will be, elegant; exhibiting no articles of apparel but ?uch as are “All the rage?” he is “Quite the tippy .”''

    Derived terms

    * tippy Bob, tippy-Bob

    Etymology 2

    1886, .


    (en adjective)
  • (Canada, US) Tending to tip or tilt over; unstable.
  • tappy



    to tappy
  • (obsolete) to lie close to the ground; to lie low or skulk
  • References

    *OED 2nd edition 1989