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tickle the ivories


Tickling the ivories

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

  1. (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.