"tip"= "leave" > "dip"= "leave" ?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Jun 15 17:43:28 UTC 2003

>While working on an article about the origin of the word faggot, I read
>Barry Popik's contribution of words from "The New York Spy(1967).  In a
>section on "the Gay World", a listing of terms is included that are in use
>in the community at the time.
>The quote was <Tip (verb) --to leave.  ("We must tip now.")>

Farmer and Henley (1904) shows "tip one's boom off" = "hurry away"
(nautical). This would be parallel to "shove/push off", I suppose. I would
suppose this is the origin of "tip" = "leave", or one of the origins.

>Since my son Zack is 12, and currently emulates Rap culture, I have heard
>him saying for a least the last two years "See ya, Dad.  We're gonna
>'dip.' "  I know he means that he and his friends are leaving.
>RHDAS cites "dip" meaning to leave in a 1903 quote.  The next cite is from
>1984 [Toop, Rap Attack:  Dip, or buff; terms for leaving.]  He allows as
>how the 1984 quote is perhaps an independent coinage.  (And I agree).
>My question is:  Could the use of "tip" meaning to leave have been in use
>enough in NYC in the 1960's, possibly in the homosexual community, but the
>African-American Rap community picked it up and mangled it to "dip"?

The 1903 quotation MIGHT be distinct, with "dip" a frivolous alteration of
"duck" as in "duck out". The other "tip" and "dip" examples here I suspect
all show the same word. I don't find it hard to believe that the use was
continuous (maybe infrequent or regional) from ca. 1900.

>It's not hard to believe that ANYONE hearing the phrase "Let's TIP" could
>have heard "Let's DIP."

Very easy to equate "tip" and "dip", I agree ... ESPECIALLY if the
predominant context is "Let's ---!" for example.

("Buff" = "leave" I don't recognize: maybe an alteration of
"bug/book/boogie [off]"?)

-- Doug Wilson

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