bud » butt

Chiefly in:   nip in the butt

Classification: English – /t/-flapping

Spotted in the wild:

  • “We take the dangers of alcohol seriously,” said Spangler, in his second year as the golf coach. “It’s better to nip it in the butt sooner than later.” (Daily Nebraskan, Oct. 31, 2002)
  • This incident surfaces now because computer systems manager Bill Witkowski is fed up with being harassed and wants to nip it in the butt. (New Haven Advocate, Feb. 27, 2003)
  • “The story of our season is we have been giving up the big inning and when you give up the big inning and you don’t nip it in the butt both pitching wise and defensive wise. You lose ball games.” (Metropolitan State College of Denver, Met Online, Apr. 17, 2003)

Analyzed or reported by:

See also butt»bud as in _the bud of someone’s jokes_, _butt naked_, and butt»but.

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/02/20 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Q. Pheevr , 2005/02/20 at 11:37 pm

    Another, particularly appropriate example:

    “Point being, nip this in the butt early, or else when it comes it will BITE you in the ass.” (LiveWire Teen Health & Fitness Forum: Friendships?)

  2. 2

    Commentary by Ben Zimmer , 2005/02/21 at 12:45 am

    Or blending the two idioms:

    “We don’t want to play around,” he said. “Teams like that, you can’t play around because they’re the kind that can nip you in the butt at any time, so you want to put them away early.” (Winchester Star, Oct. 26, 2004)

  3. 3

    Commentary by David W. Crewz , 2006/08/07 at 3:52 pm

    Believe it or not, I heard someone say, “Lick it in the butt.” Count me out.

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