Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Mar 19 20:03:06 UTC 2002

At 2:11 PM -0500 3/19/02, Gareth Branwyn wrote:
>It's fascinating to me how terms become "viral," and seemingly, all of a
>sudden, pop up everywhere at once. Take "nipply," meaning that there's a
>chill in the air. I'm not sure when I first heard this, but it's
>definitely not new. I hadn't heard it used in years, but now, I've heard
>it three times in the past few weeks and someone just submitted it to
>the Jargon Watch column. This go-round, I think I first heard it used by
>an extreme sports figure (Johnny Mosley? Tony Hawk?) on television
>(obviously a significant broadcast point for slang). Then a computer
>programmer friend used it in a phone conversation the other day and a
>San Francisco computer developer just sent it to me as a Jargon Watch
>item (obviously unaware that it's not a new term). Then my wife used it
>last night when I asked her how cold it was outside as we were leaving
>for dinner. My wife watches little TV and doesn't hang out online. When
>I asked her, she said she'd only heard it recently, maybe at one of her
>gigs (she's a musician).
>I think the first time I heard the term was in an extreme sports
>context, so maybe it originates there, or is at least popular in such circles.

Could this be a reanalysis (or folk etymological readjustment) of "nippy"?


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