In computer graphics, the calculation of what to draw, and what not to draw. Ranges from deciding which vertices of a line occur in a visible region (often rectangle) to determining if a polygon is visible at all to determining if an object is too far away or too close to draw.

In Hockey:

An illegal hit that is delivered with the sole intent of checking the opponent in the area of the knees.

A player committing such a hit is given a minor penalty of 2 minutes and if an injury occurs as a result of this "clipping" check, the player is given a major penalty of 5 minutes and a game misconduct.

NHL rule #49

In linguistics, a word formation process which consists of removing syllables from an existing word to leave a word with the same function and form class. Examples:
  • "Computer Science" goes to "comp sci"; both are nouns, both signify exactly the same content.
  • "taxicabriolet" goes to all three of "taxicab", "taxi", and "cab"; all four are nouns, signifying the exact same object.
  • "facsimilie" goes to "fax"; both signify the same process and object.

Note also that clipping often results in a more prevalent form of the word than the original, as in the last two examples.

In MacOS, a clipping file is a (usually) small file created by selecting something in a drag-and-drop-aware application and dragging it to the Desktop. Clippings may contain text, styled text, pictures, movie clips, and various other kinds of material. A clipping may be opened in the Finder to view its contents; copied into the Clipboard, or dragged into another drag-and-drop application.

Clippings were introduced in System 7.5.

In electronics and especially audio, it's a phenomenon in which a
waveform that would normally
be rounded is squared off. For example, a normal sine wave might look
sort of like this:

   -^-              -^-             -^-
  ~   ~            ~   ~           ~   ~
 /     \          /     \         /     \
/       \        /       \       /       \
         \      /         \     /
          ~    ~           ~   ~
           -..-             -.-

But one that is clipped has the highs and/or lows squared off:

  -----           -----           -----
 /     \         /     \         /     \
/       \       /       \       /       \
         \     /         \     /
          -----           -----

When an audio signal is clipped, the sound that is produced is nasty,
and shrill due to the introduction of ugly high-frequency harmonics. One common cause of this is driving an amplifier
too high, which bumps up against the finite output level the amp is capable of,
and the highs and lows are simply chopped off squarely. This can be hard on your speakers, so turn it down!

Clipping the edges off of coins was an extremely common practice when coins were made of valuable metals such as gold or silver. The removal of tiny pieces of metal from each coin that passed through the hands of a clipper would add up, until an amount worth selling as bullion (often back to the mint where the coins had been made) or to a jeweler accumulated. Hand-hammered coins were usually irregular anyway, so it wasn't always obvious when a coin had its edges shaved off. It was usually considered a serious crime; in England in 1270, almost 300 Jews were accused of clipping and beheaded. There were some early attempts to make coins where clipping would be impractical, such as Henry III of England's "long cross" coins with a cross which extended to the edge of the coin to make it visible if some were cut off.

During the reign of Elizabeth I, a man named Eloy Mestrell came up with the idea of using coin-stamping machines to make coins with a milled edge (similar techniques are reeded or grained edges), so that the absence of the texture on the edge would be immediate proof that the coin had been clipped. Established coinmakers didn't take to the idea and forced him out of working for the English mint in 1572 (and he was hanged for counterfeiting six years later). The Frenchman Nicholas Briot had no more luck in the 1620s persuading his colleagues at the Paris Mint. Briot went to England and did produce some English coins in the 1630s, but many more coins were still made with no anti-clipping design. It was another Frenchman, Pierre Blondeau, who persuaded first Louis XIII of France and then Charles II of England of the advantages of the new kind of edge.

However, even though new coins couldn't be clipped, the old clipped coins stayed in circulation in England, because turning them in at the London mint meant that you'd get only the value of the metal, which would be less than the coins' face value. Blondeau estimated that most old English coins were 20% to 30% underweight from clipping; other estimates said 50%. It took until 1695 (and the reign of William and Mary) before government legislation finally required all clipped coins to be turned in.

Other countries adopted anti-clipping measures around 1700; for example, the Spanish milled dollar (better known as the piece of eight) was issued in 1732. Clipping became less and less feasible as advances in coin-making continued.

Bernstein, Peter L. The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000.

Clip"ping (?), n.


The act of embracing.



The act of cutting off, curtailing, or diminishing; the practice of clipping the edges of coins.

clipping by Englishmen is robbing the honest man who receives clipped money. Locke.


That which is clipped off or out of something; a piece separated by clipping; as, newspaper clippings.


© Webster 1913.

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