See also: Tick



Etymology 1Edit

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.
    Hypernyms: ectoparasite, arachnid
Derived termsEdit

Further readingEdit

Etymology 2Edit

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.
    Synonym: sec
    I'll be back in a tick.
  5. (video games) A periodic increment of damage or healing caused by an ongoing status effect.
  6. (Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland) A mark () made to indicate agreement, correctness or acknowledgement.
    Synonym: checkmark
    Indicate that you are willing to receive marketing material by putting a tick in the box
  7. (birdwatching) A bird seen (or heard) by a birdwatcher, for the first time that day, year, trip, etc., and thus added to a list of observed birds.
    • 1980, Bill Oddie, Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book, page 76:
      There are few birders who have not had stringy ticks on their lists at some stage.
    • 2005, Sean Dooley, The Big Twitch, Sydney: Allen and Unwin, page 41:
      A twitcher's list is very democratic. Each bird counts as one tick. There are no extra points for beauty or rarity. The humble sparrow counts just as much as a Wedge-tailed Eagle or a Paradise Parrot.
  8. (ornithology) The whinchat.
Derived termsEdit
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] ticking of an egg timer
  1. To make a clicking noise similar to the movement of the hands in an analog clock.
    • 2021 January 13, Richard Clinnick, “HS2 reaches key milestones and gears up for a busy 2021”, in Rail, page 12:
      As 2020 ticked over into 2021, some 240 worksites were active on HS2's Phase 1 route between London and the West Midlands.
  2. To make a tick or checkmark.
  3. (informal, intransitive) 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.
    • 1550 (in Lent), Hugh Latimer, last sermon preached before King Edward VI
      Stand not ticking and toying at the branches.
  5. (birdwatching, transitive) To add (a bird) to a list of birds that have been seen (or heard).
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 3Edit

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 termsEdit

Etymology 4Edit

Clipping of ticket.


tick (uncountable)

  1. (Britain, colloquial) Credit, trust.
    Synonyms: credit, trust
    • 1903, Samuel Butler, chapter 42, in The Way of All Flesh:
      Immediately he got any money he would pay his debt; if there was any over he would spend it; if there was not—and there seldom was—he would begin to go on tick again.
    • 1974, GB Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, New York 2007:
      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. (intransitive) To go on trust, or credit.
  2. (transitive) To give tick; to trust.

Etymology 5Edit

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-West Germanic *tikkīn (goatling), diminutive of Proto-West Germanic *tigā (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 notesEdit

  • 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.)



(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


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