Kipe (also kype): To pilfer or steal; to swipe. North American slang (20th century).
Kipe is a word I associate with my childhood—it was a word used only by kids—but have heard only rarely since. Indeed, I’d have laid odds that the word was as dead as gadzooks or prithee. Then, just last week, I stumbled upon “The Revolution Will Probably Wear Mom Jeans,” by Eugenia A. Williamson, which was published this year in Issue No. 27 of The Baffler. The story is about the fashion trend called normcore, a subject in which I have more than a passing interest: I made normcore a word of the week in March 2014, and I am proud that that post is the first citation in the Wikipedia entry on normcore.
About halfway into the Baffler piece I saw this:
“…a retail label whose name kipes the year of the Bill of Rights’ signing…”
Whoa! Kipes right out there in the open, with no parenthetical definition or footnote, in a semi-scholarly essay! In 2015! I was transported back to John Burroughs Junior High School in Los Angeles, which is where I learned to say kipe from friends who’d probably learned it from their larcenous older siblings. That was a long time ago. In fact, I can’t remember hearing any form of to kipe since, oh, 1975. And I don’t recall ever seeing it on page or screen until I read the Baffler story—whose author, it seems relevant to add, appears to be a youngish person.
Driven by equal parts nostalgia and etymological curiosity, I decided to investigate.