Definition of tic-tac-toe in English:


(also tick-tack-toe)


  • A game in which two players seek in alternate turns to complete a row, a column, or a diagonal with either three O's or three X's drawn in the spaces of a grid of nine squares; noughts and crosses.

    • ‘He suggests that just as a computer can play tic-tac-toe as well as calculate a company's payroll, the brain could have been designed for one thing and used for other things.’
    • ‘I also don't see myself using a napkin at the bar to start a game of tic-tac-toe with the guy I want to meet.’
    • ‘Use washable window markers to make colorful creations that even passers-by can enjoy, or to play endless, paper-free games like tic-tac-toe and hangman.’
    • ‘Wes and Raine walked up to their classroom, still playing tic-tac-toe.’
    • ‘‘Now I can play tic-tac-toe in the sand instead of on my notes,’ I agreed.’
    • ‘As in tic-tac-toe, when you and your opponent play perfectly, the game always ends in a draw.’
    • ‘How I missed those days climbing up the scorching hot cement slide and playing tic-tac-toe on the sand.’
    • ‘That task, however, proved only a tad less difficult than playing three-dimensional tick-tack-toe.’
    • ‘Othello, a cross between checkers and tic-tac-toe, is a popular game.’
    • ‘I drew a smiley face, played tic-tac-toe with myself, drew another smiley face, scribbled all over it and finally, I wiped the ink off the plastic table.’
    • ‘I tried to play tic-tac-toe, but lost interest after beating myself four times.’
    • ‘To that end, he's been known to get rabid over games of four-square, and even argue over the results of tic-tac-toe.’
    • ‘My parents listened to Oldies the whole time, and I was stuck playing tic-tac-toe with my younger sister.’
    • ‘We started playing tic-tac-toe on napkins.’
    • ‘At the Broiler the kids colored and played tic-tac-toe while the parents chatted.’
    • ‘Stock up on a few super-cheap magnetic games (i.e., tic-tac-toe, checkers, etc.) at the local dollar store or at gift shops along the way.’
    • ‘Anyway, we played tic-tac-toe during the sermon.’
    • ‘A kid, about the same age as Chain, looked up from the floor, obviously playing tic-tac-toe with a smaller girl.’
    • ‘So, is the universe to us a game of tic-tac-toe or a game of chess?’
    • ‘Consider the problem, ‘How can I win the game of tick-tack-toe?’’


1960s: imitative; from tick-tack, used earlier to denote games in which the pieces made clicking sounds.