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See also: Wick and -wick


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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English weke, wicke (wick); from Old English wēoce (wick); from Proto-Germanic *wikǭ (turn, succession); from Proto-Indo-European *weyk (to bend, wind). Related to Proto-Germanic *wīkaną (to bend, yield). Compare Swedish vek, English week, of the same origin.


wick (countable and uncountable, plural wicks)

  1. A bundle, twist, braid, or woven strip of cord, fabric, fibre/fiber, or other porous material in a candle, oil lamp, kerosene heater, or the like, that draws up liquid fuel, such as melted tallow, wax, or the oil, delivering it to the base of the flame for conversion to gases and burning; any other length of material burned for illumination in small successive portions.
    Trim the wick fairly short, so that the flame does not smoke.
    • (Can we date this quote by Spenser?)
      But true it is, that when the oil is spent / The light goes out, and wick is thrown away.
  2. Any piece of porous material that conveys liquid by capillary action; e.g. a strip of gauze placed in a wound to serve as a drain.
  3. (curling) A narrow opening in the field, flanked by other players' stones.
  4. (curling) A shot where the played stone touches a stationary stone just enough that the played stone changes direction.
  5. (slang) Penis.
    • 2008, Marcus Van Heller, Nest of Vixens, →ISBN, p. 17:
      His wick was stone stiff.
    • 2009, Ira Robbins, Kick It Till It Breaks, Trouser Press, →ISBN, p. 130:
      Her laugh wasn't cruel in tone, but it cut through Husk like a scalpel, withering his wick even further.
Derived terms[edit]


wick (third-person singular simple present wicks, present participle wicking, simple past and past participle wicked)

  1. (transitive) To convey or draw off (liquid) by capillary action.
    The fabric wicks perspiration away from the body.
  2. (intransitive, of a liquid) To traverse (i.e. be conveyed by capillary action) through a wick or other porous material, as water through a sponge. Usually followed by through.
    The moisture slowly wicked through the wood.
  3. (curling) To strike (a stone) obliquely; to strike (a stationary stone) just enough that the played stone changes direction.

Etymology 2[edit]

From earlier Middle English wik, wich (village, hamlet, town); from Old English wīc (dwelling place, abode); Germanic borrowing from Latin vīcus (village, estate) (see vicinity). It came to mean “dairy farm” around the 13th or 14th century; for instance, Gatwick (Goat-farm). Cognates include Old High German wîch, wih (village), German Weichbild (municipal area), Dutch wijk (quarter, district), Old Frisian wik, Old Saxon wic (village), as well as Ancient Greek οἶκος (oîkos, house), whence English eco-.


wick (plural wicks)

  1. (archaic) A village; hamlet; castle; dwelling; street; creek; bay; harbour; a place of work, jurisdiction, or exercise of authority.
  2. (Britain, dialectal, chiefly East Anglia and Essex) A farm, especially a dairy farm.
Usage notes[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Old English cwic (alive); similar to an archaic meaning of quick (endowed with life; having a high degree of vigor, energy, or activity), and quicken (come to life).


wick (comparative wicker or more wick, superlative wickest or most wick)

  1. (Britain, dialectal, chiefly Yorkshire) Alive; lively; full of life; active; bustling; nimble; quick.
    as wick as an eel
    T' wickest young chap at ivver Ah seen.
    He's a strange wick bairn alus runnin' aboot.
    I'll skin ye wick! (skin you alive)
    I thowt they was dead last back end but they're wick enif noo.
    "Are you afraid of going across the churchyard in the dark?" "Lor' bless yer noä miss! It isn't dead uns I'm scar'd on, it's wick uns."
    I'll swop wi' him my poor dead horse for his wick.Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England, page 210
Related terms[edit]




  1. (Britain, dialectal, chiefly Yorkshire) Liveliness; life.
    I niver knew such an a thing afore in all my wick. — Ashby, 12 July 1875
  2. (Britain, dialectal, chiefly Yorkshire) The growing part of a plant nearest to the roots.
    Fed close? Why, it's eaten into t' hard wick. (spoken of a pasture which has been fed very close)
  3. (Britain, dialectal, chiefly Yorkshire) A maggot.

Etymology 4[edit]

From Old Norse vik.


wick (plural wicks)

  1. (now dialectal) A corner of the mouth or eye.
    • 1969, Vladimir Nabokov, Ada or Ardor, Penguin 2011, p. 57:
      She considered him. A fiery droplet in the wick of her mouth considered him.


  • "wick" in BBC - North Yorkshire - Voices - Glossary
  • Notes and Queries, Tenth Series, Vol. IV, 1905, page 170
  • A. Smythe Palmer, Folk-Etymology, A Dictionary of verbal corruptions or words perverted in form or meaning, by false derivation or mistaken analogy, 1882, page xxii
  • John Christopher Atkinson, A glossary of the Cleveland dialect: explanatory, derivative, and critical, 1868, page 573
  • W. D. Parish, Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect and Collection of Provincialisms in use in the County of Sussex, 1877, page 274-5


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of wikke