An ELL post says

I'd like to picture myself as a wealthy patron casually slipping the doorman a substantial tip as he doffs his cap / tugs his forelock and holds the door open for me to go through, thereby ensuring that I'll get attentive service from him for the duration of my stay.

which uses a pattern of "slip a tip".

I am aware that "tipping" means the customer gives $1 per bag to the doorman. I don't understand the meaning of "slip a tip". Could someone please give a hint?

  • The reason I wrote casually slipping rather than plain giving was specifically because I wanted to "downplay" the significance of that action. In the context of my answer there, I wanted to underline the fact that the "primary" activity going on at the time was me entering the hotel, which I felt was relevant to the syntactic point I was making. But I forgot that on a learners site I should be more careful about how I use idiomatic expressions that might not be so easily understood. Would handing or passing have been better than slipping for you there? Mar 18 '20 at 16:04
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Yes. both handing and passing are much easier to understand. Thank you, that's very kind of you.
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 19 '20 at 0:39

The meaning of slip given by Cambridge is:

to go somewhere or put something somewhere quickly, often so that you are not noticed:

  • ...
  • [ + two objects ] If you slip the waiter some money/slip some money to the waiter he'll give you the best table.

Slipping someone a tip means giving them a tip discreetly.


"Slipping someone X" basically means "Giving someone X" or "Passing X to someone", perhaps with an implication that the action is discreet or subtle.

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