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  • IPA(key): /tɪk/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪk
  • Homophone: tic

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English tyke, teke, from Old English ticia (parasitic animal, tick), from Proto-Germanic *tīkkô, suffixed variant of Proto-Germanic *tīgô, compare Dutch teek, German Zecke.


tick (plural ticks)

  1. A tiny woodland arachnid of the suborder Ixodida.
Derived terms[edit]


Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English tek (light touch", "tap)


tick (plural ticks)

  1. A relatively quiet but sharp sound generally made repeatedly by moving machinery.
    The steady tick of the clock provided a comforting background for the conversation.
  2. A mark on any scale of measurement; a unit of measurement.
    At midday, the long bond is up a tick.
  3. (computing) A jiffy (unit of time defined by basic timer frequency).
  4. (colloquial) A short period of time, particularly a second.
    I'll be back in a tick.
  5. (Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland) a mark () made to indicate agreement, correctness or acknowledgement; checkmark
    Indicate that you are willing to receive marketing material by putting a tick in the box
  6. (birdwatching, slang) A lifer (bird seen by a birdwatcher for the first time) that is uninteresting and routine, thus merely a tick mark on a list.
  7. The whinchat; so called from its note.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


tick (third-person singular simple present ticks, present participle ticking, simple past and past participle ticked)

  1. To make a clicking noise similar to the movement of the hands in an analog clock.
  2. To make a tick mark.
  3. (informal) To work or operate, especially mechanically.
    He took the computer apart to see how it ticked.
    I wonder what makes her tick.
  4. To strike gently; to pat.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Latimer
      Stand not ticking and toying at the branches.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English tike, probably from Middle Dutch, from Latin theca (cover)


tick (countable and uncountable, plural ticks)

  1. (uncountable) Ticking.
  2. A sheet that wraps around a mattress; the cover of a mattress, containing the filling.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

From ticket


tick (plural ticks)

  1. (Britain, colloquial) Credit, trust.
    • 1974, GB Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, New York 2007, p. 190:
      He paid his mother-in-law rent and, when the baker or the butcher or the grocer wouldn't let her have any more on tick, he paid the bills.


tick (third-person singular simple present ticks, present participle ticking, simple past and past participle ticked)

  1. To go on trust, or credit.
  2. To give tick; to trust.

Etymology 5[edit]

From Middle English tik-, tic-, tike-, tiken- (in compounds), an unassibilated form of Middle English tiche, tichen (young goat), from Old English tiċċen (young goat; kid), from Proto-Germanic *tikkīną (goatling), diminutive of Proto-Germanic *tigō (goat). Cognate with regional German Zicke (nanny goat), from Ziege (goat; nanny goat).


tick (plural ticks)

  1. (obsolete, place names) A goat.
    Tickhill; Tickham; Ticknock; Tickenhall Drive; Tickenhill Manor; Tickenhurst

Usage notes[edit]

  • Nowadays only found in place names. Fell out of common usage in the 13th century.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for tick in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)



tick n

  1. tick (quiet but sharp sound)


Declension of tick 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative tick ticket tick ticken
Genitive ticks tickets ticks tickens