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Presumably a blend of roll +‎ frolic; appeared 1811 as rollicking, 1826 as rollick.[1]



rollick (third-person singular simple present rollicks, present participle rollicking, simple past and past participle rollicked)

  1. To behave in a playful or carefree manner; to frolic or romp.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 34, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC, page 163:
      But the third Emir, now seeing himself all alone on the quarter-deck, seems to feel relieved from some curious restraint; for, tipping all sorts of knowing winks in all sorts of directions, and kicking off his shoes, he strikes into a sharp but noiseless squall of a hornpipe right over the Grand Turk’s head; and then, by a dexterous sleight, pitching his cap up into the mizentop for a shelf, he goes down rollicking so far at least as he remains visible from the deck, reversing all other processions, by bringing up the rear with music.
  2. (Euphemism for bollock; also spelled rollock) To reprimand.

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “rollicking”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.