itch

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The noun is from Middle English icche, ȝicche, from Old English ġiċċe, ġyċċe (an itch), from Proto-Germanic *jukjǭ (an itch), of unknown origin. Cognate with Scots yeuk (an itch, itchiness), Dutch jeuk (an itch).

The verb is from Middle English icchen, ȝicchen, from Old English ġiċċan, ġyċċan (to itch), from Proto-Germanic *jukjaną (to itch), of unknown origin. Cognate with Scots yeuk (to itch), West Frisian jûkje (to itch), Dutch jeuken (to itch), Low German jocken (to itch), German jucken (to itch).

Noun[edit]

itch (plural itches)

  1. A sensation felt on an area of the skin that causes a person or animal to want to scratch.
  2. A desire or want.
    • 1895, George Meredith, The Amazing Marriage:
      ... it left, however, a bee at his ear and an itch to transfer the buzzer's attentions and tease his darling; for she had betrayed herself as right good game.

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Verb[edit]

itch (third-person singular simple present itches, present participle itching, simple past and past participle itched)

  1. (intransitive) To feel itchy; to feel a need to be scratched.
    • 1597, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
      Capulet: ... Speak not, reply not, do not answer me; / My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce thought us blest / That God had lent us but this only child; / But now I see this one is one too much, / And that we have a curse in having her: / Out on her, hilding!
  2. (intransitive) To want or desire.
    He started learning to drive and he has been itching for opportunities to practice ever since.
  3. (transitive) To cause to feel an itch.
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  1. (transitive, colloquial) To scratch or rub so as to relieve an itch.
    • 2002, M D Huddleston, Missing Paige:
      "What makes you suspect him?" Max asked as he itched his neck.
    • 2002 January 4, "Cyd" (username), Itching, in alt.support.mult-sclerosis, Usenet:
      I have to take both shoes and socks off! If I go bare foot I'm ok! I also get itching on my r/palm of my hand. I itch it so much that it's raw!
    • 2003 November 21, "Jim Patterson" (username), Behavior Therapy for Itchy Clothes?, in alt.support.ocd, Usenet:
      Basically I go through a half hour of trying to figure out of it is an fake OCD itch or a regular itch before I itch it (if I determine it's a "fake" itch, then I try not to itch it).
    • 2003, Ray Emerson, The Riddle of Cthulhu:
      Ulysses thumped his side and itched his back side, then slipped into his car.
    • 2004, Philip Smucker, Al Qaeda's Great Escape: The Military and the Media on Terror's Trail:
      But when we asked more about the famous man whose specter still commanded the heights, the guard just sneered at me, pointed his gun back toward the road with one hand, and itched his chin with the other.

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