This is a passage from a novel:

Neal had lovely ears. A little too big, and they poked out at the top like wings. Georgie liked to hold his head by his ears. When he'd let her. She could imagine his head in her hands now. Could feel her thumbs stroking the tops of his ears, her knuckles brushing against his clippered hair.

What does clippered mean in the passage? I looked it up in the dictionaries, but there are no definitions of clipper in verb or adjectival form.

  • 1
    Presumably hair on which hair clippers have been used. Clipper would be a verb made up from the noun, like "brush" and "comb".
    – TimR
    Sep 30, 2015 at 18:02

1 Answer 1


Congratulations! You have found a noun that has been verbed.

It is fairly standard to append a suffix (like "-ify") to a noun to turn it into a verb. For example, I could use the word "verbify" and most native English speakers would know what I meant, even if they could not look up "verbify" in a dictionary.

Sometimes English speakers use a noun as a verb, and hope the reader understands that they mean "use a <noun> on" or "turn something into a <noun>". The original post has the former meaning. As TRomano points out, this use of "clippered" presumably means "cut using clippers". The cartoon character Calvin famously used the second meaning, when he said that "Verbing weirds language."

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