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See also: Tickle


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From Middle English tiklen, tikelen, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from a frequentative form of Middle English tikken (to touch lightly), thus equivalent to tick +‎ -le; or perhaps related to Old English tinclian (to tickle). Compare North Frisian tigele (to tickle) (Hallig dialect), and tiikle (to tickle) (Amrum dialect), German dialectal zicklen (to excite; stir up).
Alternatively, from a metathetic alteration of Middle English kitelen ("to tickle"; see kittle).


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɪkl̩/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪkəl
  • Hyphenation: tick‧le


tickle (plural tickles)

  1. The act of tickling.
  2. An itchy feeling resembling the result of tickling.
    I have a persistent tickle in my throat.
  3. (cricket, informal) A light tap of the ball.
    • 2016, Ann Waterhouse, Cricket Made Simple:
      There's a very fine line between a tickle and an edge!
  4. (Newfoundland) A narrow strait.
    • 2004, Richard Fortey, The Earth, Folio Society, published 2011, page 169:
      Cow Head itself is a prominent headland connected to the settlement by a natural causeway, or ‘tickle’ as the Newfoundlanders prefer it.



tickle (third-person singular simple present tickles, present participle tickling, simple past and past participle tickled)

  1. (transitive) To touch repeatedly or stroke delicately in a manner which causes laughter, pleasure and twitching.
    He tickled Nancy's tummy, and she started to giggle.
  2. (transitive) To unexpectedly touch or stroke delicately in a manner which causes displeasure or withdrawal.
    A stranger tickled Nancy's tummy, causing her to scream in fear.
  3. (intransitive, of a body part) To feel as if the body part in question is being tickled.
    My nose tickles, and I'm going to sneeze!
  4. (transitive) To appeal to someone's taste, curiosity etc.
  5. (transitive) To cause delight or amusement in.
    He was tickled to receive such a wonderful gift.
  6. (intransitive) To feel titillation.
  7. (transitive) To catch fish in the hand (usually in rivers or smaller streams) by manually stimulating the fins.
  8. (archaic) To be excited or heartened.




The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


tickle (comparative more tickle, superlative most tickle)

  1. (obsolete) Changeable, capricious; insecure.


tickle (comparative more tickle, superlative most tickle)

  1. Insecurely, precariously, unstably.

Derived terms[edit]