This woman has been nicked for nicking something. Listen to The English We Speak to find out about the different uses of the phrase 'to nick'.
The script for this programme
Helen: Hello, and welcome to The English We Speak. My name is Helen.
Rob: And I'm Rob.
Helen: I saw you looking for your headphones earlier; did you find them?
Rob: No, Helen. I looked for them everywhere. Someone must have nicked them.
Helen: Nicked them? What do you mean?
Rob: Oh, sorry, what I mean is someone stole my headphones. To nick something means to steal something.
Helen: That's terrible. But how is it spelt?
Rob: It's spelt N.I.C.K. nick, to nick something.
Helen: My son's best friend is called Nick. It's the same spelling, isn't it?
Rob: It is, but not the same meaning. Here the word 'nick' is a verb and it's British slang too.
Helen: Let's hear a couple of examples. What items have been stolen?
Man: Someone nicked my bike this morning.
Lady: Oh, no. Did you report it to the police?
Man: Yes, I did.
Man 1: Where are the chocolate biscuits I was saving? I am sure I saw them yesterday.
Man 2: Sorry, I don't know. Blame Dave, he's always nicking things.
Rob: So, one of them lost a bike and the other one lost his chocolate biscuits.
Helen: Unlucky chaps. Maybe the police can help them.
Rob: Yes. The police can definitely help them by nicking those petty thieves.
Helen: That's very confusing. The police can nick too? They can steal?
Rob: No, no, no, no. The police can't nick things from people. But when they arrest someone, we can say the person is nicked. It means they're arrested by the police.
Woman: Have you heard from Inspector James?
Man: No. He's working on a big case. I think they have just nicked the main suspect!
Helen: So if a criminal is caught by the police, then we can say he's nicked.
Rob: That's right. Let's go over the two meanings of the verb 'to nick'. First, if something is nicked, it means it's stolen.
Helen: Like my pen got nicked.
Rob: Yes, that's right. But if a person gets nicked, we mean he's arrested by the police.
Helen: A comedian got nicked for throwing a pie at Rupert Murdoch.
Rob: Yes, he did. Helen, you've got it. Just remember it's not a formal expression.
Helen: Thank you. I'll keep that in mind. Bye for now.