To trip means to stumble or fall as a consequence of striking one's foot against something and thereby losing one's balance. I recently tripped over a book which I placed on the floor next to my desk, and in the moment of tripping I was enlightened. I was not enlightened in the Buddhist sense of satori, but rather I experienced an intellectual "aha!" sort of enlightenment that caused me to understand the nature and causes of tripping. This was similar to the sudden understanding that caused Archimedes to shout "eureka!" and run naked through the street when he discovered the secret of how to measure the volume of an irregular solid, though in my case I did not run naked through the street. I simply mooned my neighbors out the window.

While I was still in the process of collapsing to the floor, it occurred to me that one is more likely to trip in familiar places than in unfamiliar surroundings. This is because one tends to be more cautious, and to depend on one's sense of sight, when walking in unfamiliar surroundings. On the other hand, when at home, or in other places where walking has become a matter of rote, one depends more on a conditioned sense of space, which one does not expect to undergo any radical changes. On does not bother to look where one is going, and even conscious knowledge that a change has taken place may be insufficient to bypass the subconscious mechanism by which one navigates in a familiar space. Changing the familiar is like putting a new coffee table in the middle of a blind man's living room.

...and then I hit the floor.

A short voyage or journey, a false step or stumble, an error in the tongue, a bastard. She has made a trip; she has had a bastard.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Trip (?), n. i. [imp. & p. p. Tripped (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Tripping.] [OE. trippen; akin to D. trippen, Dan. trippe, and E. tramp. See Tramp.]


To move with light, quick steps; to walk or move lightly; to skip; to move the feet nimbly; -- sometimes followed by it. See It, 5.

This horse anon began to trip and dance. Chaucer.

Come, and trip it, as you go, On the light fantastic toe. Milton.

She bounded by, and tripped so light They had not time to take a steady sight. Dryden.


To make a brief journey or pleasure excursion; as, to trip to Europe.


To take a quick step, as when in danger of losing one's balance; hence, to make a false; to catch the foot; to lose footing; to stumble.


Fig.: To be guilty of a misstep; to commit an offense against morality, propriety, or rule; to err; to mistake; to fail.

"Till his tongue trip."


A blind will thereupon comes to be led by a blind understanding; there is no remedy, but it must trip and stumble. South.

Virgil is so exact in every word that none can be changed but for a worse; he pretends sometimes to trip, but it is to make you think him in danger when most secure. Dryden.

What? dost thou verily trip upon a word? R. Browning.


© Webster 1913.

Trip, v. t.


To cause to stumble, or take a false step; to cause to lose the footing, by striking the feet from under; to cause to fall; to throw off the balance; to supplant; -- often followed by up; as, to trip up a man in wrestling.

The words of Hobbes's defense trip up the heels of his cause. Abp. Bramhall.


Fig.: To overthrow by depriving of support; to put an obstacle in the way of; to obstruct; to cause to fail.

To trip the course of law, and blunt the sword. Shak.


To detect in a misstep; to catch; to convict.


These her women can trip me if I err. Shak.

4. Naut. (a)

To raise (an anchor) from the bottom, by its cable or buoy rope, so that it hangs free.


To pull (a yard) into a perpendicular position for lowering it.

5. Mach.

To release, let fall, or see free, as a weight or compressed spring, as by removing a latch or detent.


© Webster 1913.

Trip, n.


A quick, light step; a lively movement of the feet; a skip.

His heart bounded as he sometimes could hear the trip of a light female step glide to or from the door. Sir W. Scott.


A brief or rapid journey; an excursion or jaunt.

I took a trip to London on the death of the queen. Pope.


A false step; a stumble; a misstep; a loss of footing or balance. Fig.: An error; a failure; a mistake.

Imperfect words, with childish trips. Milton.

Each seeming trip, and each digressive start. Harte.


A small piece; a morsel; a bit.

[Obs.] "A trip of cheese."



A stroke, or catch, by which a wrestler causes his antagonist to lose footing.

And watches with a trip his foe to foil. Dryden.

It is the sudden trip in wrestling that fetches a man to the ground. South.

6. Naut.

A single board, or tack, in plying, or beating, to windward.


A herd or flock, as of sheep, goats, etc.

[Prov. Eng. & Scott.]


A troop of men; a host.


Robert of Brunne.

9. Zool.

A flock of widgeons.


© Webster 1913.

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