Someone has a cup that is full and when lifted, the content of the cup will get spilled.

Is there a specific word or a phrase that can describe the act of kneeling or bending down and sipping from the cup without lifting it from the table until it becomes possible to lift the cup without spilling?

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    "Slurp' (or even 'lap', but that's difficult) comes to mind. – Řídící Sep 9 '16 at 12:41
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    Bringing his mouth down to the brimming cup, he took a few sips of the tea. – WS2 Sep 9 '16 at 13:34
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    @MarkRipley I'd opt for slurp over sip: to me a 'sip' involves taking up liquid with no air, you form a seal between your lips, the cup wall and surface of the liquid and suck gently. The contact with the liquid risks displacement of liquid out of the cup if you don't judge it right, and leaning down to a cup makes the angle of approach tricky. Slurping otoh doesn't require a seal, only a sufficiently vigorous sucking action, deployed, as you approach the drink, for some liquid to be wrenched upwards to your mouth with the in-rushing air. TL:DR Sipping's quiet, slurping's noisy – Spagirl Sep 9 '16 at 13:58
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    You should use a straw. – jxh Sep 9 '16 at 16:58
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    @HotLicks You clearly don't belong to that rather large section of the population who drink their tea/coffee with milk and are incorrigibly incapable of judging the right amount to pour in before the milk. There are quite a lot of people who do the exact thing this question asks about on a daily basis. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 9 '16 at 22:12

I end up having to do this quite often and when I do I slurp. It may not be attractive or polite, but slurping is what the circumstance calls for especially for hot drinks, even if straws are available. Slurping not only allows spill-free drinking, it also cools a too-hot drink (unlike a straw).

Slurp - To make a sucking noise in drinking or eating (OED).


When you are bobbing for apples, you are playing a game to retrieve apples from a tub of water using only your mouth without using your arms or hands. So you could metaphorically apply this to your situation:

As the cup was overfull, he bobbed for water until he could pick it up.

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    Is someone contending bobbing for apples is not a recognized term for trying to get an apple out of a tub into their mouth without using their hands? – jxh Sep 9 '16 at 20:14
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    I can't speak for "someone," but I think it's not a very good metaphor. When I imagine someone bobbing for apples, I picture that person's while face getting submerged. When someone drinks water from the top of a cup, they just use their lips. – herisson Sep 9 '16 at 22:12
  • @suməlic: The easiest apple to get is the one on top of the other apples, no need to get wet. You only get wet if you have to go for a submerged apple. Analogous to bobbing for more water even though the cup is only half full. – jxh Sep 9 '16 at 22:50

The closest phrase I can think of is 'slurping in situ', where 'slurping' indicates drinking by using your lips to noisily inhale the liquid, and 'in situ' indicates not moving the cup in order to drink from it.

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