tickle the ivories (third-person singular simple present tickles the ivories, present participle tickling the ivories, simple past and past participle tickled the ivories)
- (idiomatic) To play the piano.
1915, Willa Cather, Song of the Lark:
- "I don't think your musical friend is much on the grub-box. Has to keep her hands white to tickle the ivories."
- 1984 June 9, Ben A. Franklin, "Mencken Monument Spurs ‘Frenzied Piffle’," New York Times (retrieved 14 Nov 2016):
- Mencken, more a music lover than a musician, sometimes tickled the ivories in a repertory of Beethoven, Bach, Strauss and W. C. Handy.