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Alternative forms[edit]


ticky-tacky (uncountable)

  1. (US) Cheap, low-quality building material, especially as that used to make conventional suburban housing of a uniform design.
    • 1964 Malvina Reynolds, “Little Boxes”:
      And the boys go into business, and marry and raise a family / In boxes made of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same.


Uncertain, but a tick probably relates to a short period of time (although it may also be a corruption of stick meaning a twig or adhesive) while a tack is a temporary fastening, thus suggesting a hurried, improvised and poorly finished final product


ticky-tacky (not comparable)

  1. (US) Made of this material