Main definitions of tick in English

: tick1tick2tick3tick4

tick1

noun

  • 1British A mark (✓) used to indicate that an item in a list or text is correct or has been chosen, checked, or dealt with.

    • ‘The paper then comes back with a tick or a cross on it and nothing more!’
    • ‘I have a tick with a question mark next to paragraph 93, and paragraph 94 just does not follow on the facts.’
    • ‘Over a hundred ticks marked the space beneath the heading.’
    • ‘Each feature description also included a screenshot and a tick mark indicating whether it made significant use of graphics or not.’
    • ‘A map of the Urus-Martan area is black from ticks and marks indicating ordnance.’
    • ‘‘You can call the agents tomorrow,’ said Graham, poring over his to-do list, all ticks and crossings out.’
    • ‘Graham's to-do list is now a mess of ticks and crossings-out, with only one job left to do.’
    • ‘And there's ticks and crosses to indicate everyone's preferences.’
    • ‘The tick marks on the x-axes represent genetic markers.’
    • ‘If any running column total exceeds 11, subtract 11 and put a tick mark in that column.’
    • ‘Then it's in or out, a tick or a cross, Mr or Ms Right or Mr / Ms No Thank You Very Much.’
    • ‘In a nursing home or ward the routine is that every patient has a care plan that is religiously filled in every day with ticks or crosses - has he eaten a balanced diet?’
    • ‘The translator now translates each string and switches the yellow question mark to a green tick when completed.’
    • ‘The original entry on the record read ‘IV Anti-D’, followed by a tick.’
    • ‘Each tick mark indicates that a nucleotide within the strain differs from the consensus sequence.’
    • ‘The chromosome maps are given below the images, with black tick marks indicating the position of markers.’
    • ‘A tick indicates that the sentence is true that day; a blank that it is not.’
    • ‘I also have a lounge that smells pretty, and several ticks next to names on the Christmas list.’
    • ‘By extension, some might put a tick mark in the loss column for Rosenhaus.’
    • ‘The use of the hyphen to divide words at the ends of lines of text dates from the 14c, and evolved from a marginal tick or check mark used to show that the final word of a line was not complete.’
    mark, stroke, dash, line
    View synonyms
  • 2A regular short, sharp sound, especially that made by a clock or watch.

    ‘the comforting tick of the grandfather clock’
    • ‘If we need the high order positions of the number, they will be ready in two ticks (one clock cycle).’
    • ‘With just 1.8 ticks left on the clock and the ball, Pitt inserted a severely hobbled Knight into the lineup who hit the front rim on a 70-foot launch.’
    • ‘She so loves the heartbeat of a clock: the tick, the pause, the lock.’
    • ‘It is an artificial construct of man that simply represents the number of ticks from a clock.’
    • ‘At this time of night, the tick of the clock synchronises itself with my heartbeat.’
    • ‘The obnoxious tick of the clock clicked annoyingly over the thunder itself.’
    • ‘By using the very basis of matter, we can define the second to be 9,192,631,770 ticks of the caesium clock.’
    • ‘This blog started out a long time ago when what I concentrated on was the daily droplets; the tick of the clock, the squeak of the mouse, etc.’
    • ‘The tireless tick of the clock could be heard during lulls in the conversation.’
    • ‘It was regular, a beat; not quite a tap, more of a tick.’
    • ‘The grandfather clock's never ending ticks echoed throughout the pub.’
    • ‘In a sport in which the times are measured in hundredths of a second, she beat Giove, who took second, by 20 ticks of the clock.’
    • ‘He argues as if a tick of the clock, viz. the arrival of the Middle Ages, could cause the widespread destruction which India suffered.’
    • ‘They sat silently for a few minutes, the tick of the clock on the mantle and crackling of the fire in the fireplace now very loud in the silence.’
    • ‘The second will be defined to be so many ticks of the standard clock.’
    • ‘If it hadn't have been so loud, I'd have totally counted down the seconds until freedom just by the ticks on the clock above the whiteboard.’
    • ‘Women no longer fear the tick of the biological clock, as medical technology has proved that those with the money can pay to have it turned back.’
    • ‘Each tick of the clock was accompanied by the amplified sound of a human heartbeat.’
    • ‘They seemingly had the game in hand but New Mexico State hit with just 3 ticks left on the clock before Sparks hit the money ball from the corner pocket.’
    • ‘The tick of this pulsar clock is very regular, a sharp pulse every 0.059 second.’
    • ‘Three seconds, three ticks of the clock, and the transformation from smoke to human was complete.’
    clicking, click, clack, clacking, click-clack, ticking, tick-tock, snick, snicking, plock, plocking, beat, tap, tapping
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1British informal A moment.
      ‘I shan't be a tick’
      ‘I'll be with you in a tick’
      • ‘No, but, I mean, hang on a tick, it's how well a film can convince you of that.’
  • 3Stock Market
    The smallest recognized amount by which a price of a security or future may fluctuate.

    • ‘Professional forecasters are predicting a tick down in GDP in 2005.’
    • ‘Firstly, a tick is any movement, up or down, however small, in the price of a security.’
    • ‘The tick up in non-performing loans in the last half year was modest - more modest, indeed, than it has been for some of Anglo's critics.’
    • ‘This establishes a baseline volume for the day to which all subsequent ticks can be related.’
    • ‘Any tick up in interest rates spells relief for income-starved investors who have their nest eggs locked up in certificates of deposit.’
    • ‘And within an hour it had given back all of that, too - give or take a couple of ticks.’
    • ‘If you want to further refine the trailing buy stop technique, you can lower your buy order the next day to the level one tick above the latest price bar.’
    • ‘Their price moves almost tick for tick with the index.’
    • ‘But if the economic numbers in mid-October go up even a tick, it could be a close-run thing.’
    • ‘The 10-year bond fared somewhat better, losing 11 ticks.’
    • ‘If the quick dose of bullishness is sustained longer than anticipated, you can raise your sell order every day to stay within a tick of the latest low.’
    • ‘Let's see if this fourth installment continues the up tick.’
    • ‘After this morning's 2-point surge on the release, the bond market closed the day down a tick.’

verb

  • 1British [with object] Mark (an item) with a tick or select (a box) on a form, questionnaire, etc. to indicate that something has been chosen, checked, approved, or dealt with.

    ‘just tick the appropriate box below’
    • ‘Those stopped in the street and asked if they are ‘minded to make a big purchase’ will continue to tick the box marked ‘no’.’
    • ‘By Sun standards this is subtle stuff but the message could not be more obvious: readers are being coaxed into ticking the box marked ‘bad outweighs good’.’
    • ‘Most of the 600,000 are palpably unmoved, merely ticking the place off their list.’
    • ‘In his leather bag he has an alphabetic list which he fastidiously ticks off after each visit.’
    • ‘He is a happy man, journey justified, as he ticks this bird off his list.’
    • ‘‘Those who consider themselves British, but have Irish roots, can still tick the Irish box’.’
    • ‘One day they were busy ticking the days off and I just though that's it - we're having Christmas early.’
    • ‘Participants were asked to explain why they had never used the Internet via a basic tick box.’
    • ‘So you're ticking those days off on the calendar?’
    mark, mark off, check off, indicate
    View synonyms
  • 2[no object] (of a clock or other mechanical device) make regular short, sharp sounds, typically one for every second of time that passes.

    ‘I could hear the clock ticking’
    • ‘She watched the plastic hands tick off each second.’
    • ‘As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the shocked Scots found themselves on the losing sideline for the fifth time this season and the fourth time in as many weeks.’
    • ‘Reporters spend most of their time reporting and then as the clock ticks, start banging away at the keys.’
    • ‘AS THE clock ticks past midnight and today moves into tomorrow, the new world rankings will be spat out from a computer in Florida.’
    • ‘Gardner and teammates watched helplessly as the final six seconds ticked off the clock.’
    • ‘As the clock ticks in the short interview, it becomes apparent that a new line of questioning is in order before things spin out of control.’
    • ‘I watched the clock tick off the seconds, and finally click over into place.’
    • ‘All that could be heard besides the patter of raindrops against the window was the sound of the clock ticking off the seconds.’
    • ‘The calendar is loaded, the meter is ticking and that damn clock has to be fast, doesn't it?’
    • ‘She suddenly took notice of what sounded like a clock ticking.’
    • ‘Measuring motions in this absolute space also required a universal clock, which ticked off the seconds for all the inhabitants of the cosmos.’
    • ‘And, finally, as the clock ticks past five-thirty in the evening and you know the agent is shutting up shop for the day, realizing that you've wasted a perfectly good day.’
    • ‘The clock on the wall ticked on, its sound echoing through the otherwise silent room.’
    • ‘I sunk lower in my seat and watched the clock tick.’
    • ‘The clock had barely started ticking in the second period before Killie equalised.’
    • ‘We were quiet for a few minutes; the only sound was the clock ticking on the wall.’
    • ‘He slid out of bed into the darkness and picked up his cellphone, watching the numbers on the clock tick.’
    • ‘Instead, her eyes stayed open, staring into the dark, and she watched the luminescent numbers on her clock tick slowly by.’
    • ‘Want to be fully informed as the calendar ticks over to 2003?’
    • ‘The first act is played with the sound of a clock ticking and whistling wind running through it, setting a foreboding atmosphere.’
    • ‘I think I had watched the clock tick for 4 hours when it claimed only ten minutes had go by.’
    click, clack, tick-tock, snick, plock, beat, tap
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1(of time) pass.
      ‘the minutes were ticking away till the actor's appearance’
      • ‘But seeing the actual footage, with the minutes ticking by, may prove more damaging to the White House than all the statistics in the world.’
      • ‘All the while the pregnancy ticks away… closer and closer to the 24 week mark at which point abortion becomes difficult and dangerous.’
      • ‘Climbing into bed at a relatively early 0048 this morning, I could do little other than drift fitfully between wakefulness and a semi-conscious dozing, looking at my watch every here and again to see the hours ticking by slower than ever.’
      • ‘The long chain of people moved irritably slow, minutes ticking by with seemingly no progress being made.’
      • ‘There's definitely an acute sense in the movie of time ticking by, time running out, and I think all the dialogue that danced around but was afraid to touch upon the central issue only heightened that feeling.’
      • ‘As the 2004 election campaign ticks away its frantic dying days, Ohio finds itself having to decide who will be the next president.’
      • ‘I hurried to be on time but the time was ticking past 17: 05.’
      • ‘An hour had ticked by since he'd moved into position.’
      • ‘Well, Miles, each moment that ticks by increases the chances, of course, that there could be a hung jury in this case.’
      • ‘At intervals I went to the front window to see if the sign had arrived, becoming more and more impatient as the morning passed and the afternoon ticked away.’
      • ‘As the time ticks by, you find yourself becoming heavier and drowsier, like you felt as a kid after one of those hundred-hour days on holiday by the seaside.’
      • ‘With the timer constantly reminding players that time was ticking away, the game moved much faster and he stated that it was the most enjoyable playing of the game he's had.’
      • ‘The Treasurer maintains every day that ticks by is just more expense and confusion.’
      • ‘Every moment that ticks by could provide new clues to help police track down the sniper.’
      • ‘But as time passed and seconds slowly ticked away like eternity, Liz began to lose hope.’
      • ‘Meanwhile time was ticking by and there no sign of a start to recording.’
      • ‘The plot of the film elapses almost in real time as the minutes tick away toward the final showdown and as one townman after another declines to join Kane in his confrontation with Miller.’
      • ‘And our dwindling supply of eggs is getting more addled with every day that ticks by.’
      • ‘As time ticks away, Charlie tries to mediate between Johnny Boy and Michael.’
      • ‘Although time is ticking by, you can still make this Christmas special for some of the homeless Irish emigrants in Cricklewood and all over London, by contributing to the collections being organized all over the county.’
    2. 2.2Proceed or progress.
      ‘her book was ticking along nicely’
      • ‘At least my sale seems to be ticking along, which is one very important part of the equation.’
      • ‘Less than 2 weeks to go now (12 days, to be exact) and everything's ticking along nicely.’
      • ‘Some Fed officials might even be willing to wait to tighten until inflation ticks up and moves the economy well clear of the deflationary danger zone.’
      • ‘Besson's storyline is vaguely intriguing, and there is that swell car-chase sequence to keep things ticking along nicely.’
      • ‘As time ticks on without a major purchase, pressure is likely to mount on Fyffes to redistribute to shareholders the bounty of its war chest.’
      • ‘One page per day will keep things ticking along quite nicely.’
      • ‘Or maybe they are just keeping the issue ticking along in order to appease their supporters.’
      • ‘Fat is a necessary evil, as the body requires just enough to keep the physiological system ticking along.’
      • ‘It has also helped him pay for extra staff to keep the business ticking along when he has to meet a big order or has been forced to take time off ill.’
      • ‘I like to keep the workout ticking along, and that brisk pace dictates minimal rest intervals.’
      • ‘For the rest of us, it was yet another chance to see how the most dysfunctional relationship in Scottish politics was ticking along.’
      • ‘It was ticking along without a care in the world.’
      • ‘As she watched, the numbers began ticking over; when they got to the bottom of the board, they started again from the top.’
      • ‘Leveling off at 16,000, I turned on the dumps and watched the fuel gauge tick down.’
      • ‘The bad news is as each day ticks on the funding allocation of over 1 billion per year gets taxpayers less and less road for their money.’
      • ‘Local eateries were doing very well, while the pubs seemed to be doing well also and, for business in general, things were ticking along better than last year.’
      • ‘All we could do was laugh - and laugh we did, until the day turn into night and the night ticks into the early hours of the morning.’
      • ‘It's a such a relaxed atmosphere and despite all the organisation that's involved, everything is ticking over beautifully.’
      • ‘In the second half, gas prices may well tick up again, especially with crude oil closing in on $43 per barrel on July 28.’
      • ‘The Budget shouldn't be a giveaway, but must be ‘broadly neutral’ to keep the economy ticking along.’
      • ‘I was going to retire at 65, and I was ticking along as a delivery driver, but now I will have to work at least another five years on top of that.’

Phrases

  • tick all the (right) boxes

    • informal Fulfil all the necessary requirements.

      ‘the new album should tick all the right boxes for their many fans’
      • ‘Still, it cornered smartly, everything looked tidy and it ticked all the right boxes for practicality.’
      • ‘No contender, real or perceived, ticks all the boxes.’
      • ‘Good quality veneered furniture, reconstituted stone, granite sheeting do a job and will tick all the boxes for the discerning yet canny shopper.’
      • ‘Just two hours from Paris yet within a feasible drive to the tin can if the weather was bad, it was ticking all the boxes.’
      • ‘The spokesman said he " ticked all the boxes ".’
      • ‘Lulu, a former Eurovision winner who appeared on the show, said that Miss Ewen " ticked all the boxes ".’
      • ‘Fox is a crime writer who can tick all the right boxes.’
      • ‘His background ticks all the right boxes for working for the royals, not least working closely with the UN special envoy in Sarajevo.’
      • ‘With a cast that tick all the boxes, this show is sure to be one of this season's must sees.’
      • ‘I think that ticks all the boxes.’
  • what makes someone tick

    • informal What motivates someone.

      ‘people are curious to know what makes British men tick’
      • ‘Get in the head of each person, find out what makes them tick.’
      • ‘No one really knows how these people think, what makes them tick, and which of the five contenders stirs their blood.’
      • ‘It's been a joy to play Kate and to delve into what makes her tick: love, patience and a huge sense of humour.’
      • ‘You come to a place in your life, though, where you really learn what makes you tick as an actress.’
      • ‘I get a thrill when I can get into the male psyche and learn about what makes them tick.’
      • ‘He knows his people, what makes them tick - and why - as a result of encouraging them to talk, drawing them out and asking questions.’
      • ‘In evaluating anyone's ability, I look at what kind of person they are first, try to find out what makes them tick, their ambitions, what switches them on.’
      • ‘They need work that allows them to develop deep one to one relationships with people, letting them understand others and discover what makes them tick.’
      • ‘We're good at finding out about people, what makes them tick, what they are interested in, what they have bees in their bonnets about - a key networking skill.’
      • ‘His son-in-law once said to him, ‘I have asked myself what makes you tick.’’
      • ‘I'd like the opportunity to find out a bit what they were like as people, what makes them tick, and, you know, enjoy their company.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • tick someone off

    • 1Reprimand or rebuke someone.

      ‘he was ticked off by Angela’
      ‘he got a ticking off from the magistrate’
      • ‘Then we were ticked off for not taking enough exercise.’
      • ‘Later he ticked me off for not including him in on emails to the client.’
      • ‘She was ticking us off for a number of administrative errors but I think she has every confidence in the leadership we give to the appointments commission.’
      • ‘Beyond the door Matron was ticking Bentham off for leaving Thomas alone and the other nurses were gathering, quizzing each other and expressing dismay.’
      • ‘On Friday night I telephoned a friend who ticked me off for having interrupted her as she watched Justin Timberlake on Top Of The Pops.’
      • ‘You'd tick me off if I got the variety wrong but you and I know exactly what we we're talking about if I call it an ear of wheat.’
      • ‘Mrs H first ticked her off for taking a silly route then offered her a hot bath.’
      • ‘Leon Morris spat at a retail assistant who ticked him off for being in a group that was misbehaving, a court heard at another hearing.’
      • ‘When I lost the plot, I was passed to his supervisor who took great joy in ticking me off for going out of my mind over the phone.’
      • ‘He'd regularly tick me off for smoking, telling me I was damaging my health and I should pack it in before it was too late.’
      rebuke, admonish, chastise, chide, upbraid, reprove, reproach, scold, remonstrate with, berate, take to task, pull up, castigate, lambaste, read someone the riot act, give someone a piece of one's mind, haul over the coals, lecture, criticize, censure
      View synonyms
    • 2Make someone annoyed or angry.

      ‘Jefferson was a little ticked off, but he'll come around’
      • ‘Let what is deep within you come out whenever I write something that ticks you off!’
      • ‘So at this point, was I worried about ticking them off?’
      • ‘It ticks me off to no end that they didn't even bother to send out a notification to let us hostees know that there was going to be a server move.’
      • ‘I'll make some people mad for saying this, but I'll tell you what really ticks me off.’
      • ‘Please forgive me and know that I likewise extend forgiveness to all who have offended, insulted, irritated, or otherwise ticked me off.’
      • ‘So, if any of you are ticked off by the thing, my apologies.’
      • ‘Tell me why that ticks you off, makes you feel hopeless, and makes you think I am defeatist trash.’
      • ‘Those girls were always doing something to tick him off, angering him more than humanly possible.’
      • ‘But behind the hockey pads and blender parts, there ticks a mind obsessed with ticking people off.’
      • ‘We just drive around in circles acting confused because we know how much it ticks women off.’
      annoy, irritate, infuriate, anger, incense, inflame, enrage, vex, irk, chagrin, exasperate, madden, pique, provoke, nettle, disturb, upset, perturb, discompose, put out, try, try someone's patience, get on someone's nerves, bother, trouble, worry, agitate, ruffle, hound, rankle with, nag, torment, pain, distress, tease, frustrate, chafe, grate, fret, gall, outrage, displease, offend, disgust, dissatisfy, disquiet
      View synonyms
  • tick something off

    • 1Mark an item in a list with a tick to show that it has been dealt with.

      ‘I ticked several items off my ‘to do’ list’
      • ‘Then it is ticked off a list of all birds found in this country.’
      • ‘Her clipboard-wielding colleague Alan Greenlees demonstrates how this works, diligently scrutinising and ticking off trays of shells.’
      • ‘things are slowly being ticked off of the list.’
      • ‘But as for the diving, it is like ticking off entries in I Spy Underwater.’
      • ‘You record and tick things off in the anecdote album.’
      • ‘I haven't ticked too many off just yet but many things are planned for very soon.’
      • ‘Mr Howarth said: "We had a leaflet on meningitis and when we ticked off the symptoms the alarm bells started ringing".’
      • ‘So, start ticking the days off, as come the year 2004, Shane will no longer be a single man.’
      • ‘Sipping bottled water before the concert in Huntington in March, he ticked off a long list of luminaries with whom he had worked.’
      • ‘They didn't make any effort to tick people off the voters' list or stop them voting twice.’
    • 2List items one by one in one's mind or during a speech.

      ‘he ticked the points off on his fingers’
      • ‘The officer was going down a mental list and ticking the items off on his fingers. ‘… possession of drugs, possession of illegal weapons and technology, and assaulting an officer of the North American army.’
      • ‘Speaking of bad reporting: Rob Garver ticks off a list of just some of the mistakes William Safire made in his column in The New York Times.’
      • ‘He had been ticking the items off on his fingers with the air of a housewife listing tasks yet to be done; now he laced the fingers behind his head and sighed vastly.’
      • ‘She drolly ticks off a list of other claims to the first Thanksgiving in the United States: the explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1541 in the Texas Panhandle.’
      • ‘Which was obviously not a good idea, because as soon as my dad began, aunty Lanya kind of took over the conversation and began to tick things off on her fingers as she went through a mental list in her head.’
      • ‘Charlie Kernaghan constantly ticks off a list of his failings and limits and terrors.’
      • ‘She ticked these things off like necessary items on a shopping list and as quickly forgot them.’
      • ‘‘Well, she's really small, absolutely gorgeous, drives a hot car, goes by animal names, loud, bossy,’ Samuel listed, ticking each description off on a new finger.’
      • ‘She stood stock still in the middle of the room and stared intensely at nothing, at nothing you could see anyway, and then she started ticking things off on her fingers.’
      • ‘Puzzled, he looked around their small room, mentally ticking things off.’
      • ‘Gibbons then ticks off a list of things that would have to change between land mammals and marine mammals, ignoring all of the fossil evidence after Pakicetus.’
  • tick over

    • 1(of an engine) run slowly in neutral.

      ‘his Mercedes was waiting for him, the engine ticking over’
      • ‘It is most content cruising at high speed, with the engine ticking over quietly - but always with the promise of immense reserves of power.’
      • ‘It really isn't possible to troll using a petrol outboard, they just can't tick over slowly enough.’
      • ‘The engine started and it ticked over perfectly.’
      • ‘He wasn't conscious of the faint sound of a car engine ticking over, a little way up the street outside.’
      • ‘Now, with a 3.2GHz processor ticking over, keeping things cool isn't particularly easy.’
      idle, run slowly in neutral
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Work or function at a basic or minimum level.
        ‘they are keeping things ticking over until their father returns’
        • ‘This has helped keep the economy ticking over until growth picks up.’
        • ‘They keep all the bits in working order, not just ticking over in a repetitious way.’
        • ‘I think there was more pressure on me at the time because I came in to keep things ticking over for Celtic.’
        • ‘He had a little break after Newbury, but we've kept him ticking over since then.’
        • ‘It comes, of course, at a time when North Korea is struggling to get fuel to keep its economy ticking over.’
        • ‘To date the US consumer has kept the economy ticking over while the manufacturing sector went into recession.’
        • ‘There has been no change of any significance in the pattern of the trade on the continent over the past week with most markets remaining similar to previous weeks and the trade just ticking over.’
        • ‘There's also a problem in that my normal mode of thinking of stuff to write about is mostly because my mind sort of ticks over if I'm not thinking of anything particularly fiercely.’
        • ‘The Catholic Church has apologised for the inconvenience, but reminds us that such work is necessary to keep the universe ticking over smoothly.’
        • ‘I've barely got enough blog in me to keep this site ticking over.’
        • ‘A positive opening in the US helped keep the Footsie ticking over while traders digested a gloomy third-quarter report from Colt Telecom.’
        • ‘So Robinson needs $US1.2 million a year to keep things ticking over.’

Origin

Middle English (as a verb in the sense pat, touch): probably of Germanic origin and related to Dutch tik (noun), tikken (verb) pat, touch. The noun was recorded in late Middle English as ‘a light tap’; current senses date from the late 17th century.

Pronunciation:

tick

/tɪk/

Main definitions of tick in English

: tick1tick2tick3tick4

tick2

noun

  • 1A parasitic arachnid which attaches itself to the skin of a terrestrial vertebrate from which it sucks blood, leaving the host when sated. Some species transmit diseases, including tularaemia and Lyme disease.

    • ‘It also repels and kills deer ticks that may transmit Lyme Disease.’
    • ‘Scorpions are arachnids, relatives of spiders and ticks.’
    • ‘The tick attaches itself to the skin of the host and sucks its blood.’
    • ‘Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, which is most commonly spread to humans in the nymph stage of a tick's life.’
    • ‘Symptoms usually appear within a week of infection but may develop up to 30 days after the tick bite.’
    • ‘Large ticks may carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, while the smaller, pinhead-size deer ticks can harbour Lyme disease.’
    • ‘Lyme disease, a disease transmitted by ticks, is the most common insect-borne illness in the United States.’
    • ‘It usually takes eight to 48 hours for a tick to transmit diseases after it's dug in.’
    • ‘With Lyme disease, embedded ticks have moved from disgusting to dangerous.’
    • ‘Those who cannot make their own fame will feed off the fame of others like a tick sucking the blood out of a dog.’
    • ‘For example, reforestation in the United States and Europe is responsible for an increase in Lyme disease as deer ticks have more opportunities to find human hosts.’
    • ‘Usually at the moment of the stinging, the ticks release anaesthetic substances, which makes the place of bite invisible and people are unaware of what has happened.’
    • ‘Typically, ticks wait on vegetation and jump on your shoes, socks, or pants when you walk by.’
    • ‘More than a nuisance, fleas and ticks can transmit a host of pathogens and skin diseases to humans and their furry counterparts.’
    • ‘It takes 24 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme disease, so rapid removal is important.’
    • ‘Do a tick check every few hours or more often if in heavily infested areas.’
    • ‘Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, no bigger than a pin-head that normally live on deer.’
    • ‘And only a small percentage of people who are bitten by a deer tick get Lyme disease.’
    • ‘Mites and ticks which feed on vertebrate hair or blood often carry disease organisms, such as spirochete bacteria, responsible for relapsing fever and Lyme disease.’
    • ‘You often pick up ticks when walking through bracken, and they're best removed quickly if they attach themselves to you.’
    1. 1.1informal A parasitic louse fly, especially the sheep ked.
  • 2British informal A worthless or contemptible person.

    ‘he was shown up in court for the little tick that he was’
    • ‘He really is an irritating little tick, isn't he?’
    • ‘By comparison with Richard, then, John has been seen as a weedy little tick.’
    • ‘Katzenberg, 53, is the part genius, part egomaniac and part irritating little tick who Disney froze out.’

Origin

Old English ticia, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch teek and German Zecke.

Pronunciation:

tick

/tɪk/

Main definitions of tick in English

: tick1tick2tick3tick4

tick3

noun

  • 1A fabric case stuffed with feathers or other material to form a mattress or pillow.

    • ‘I clambered into the straw tick ungracefully and flopped down, clothes and all.’
    • ‘They reach for the money, which is very close to where Huck is standing, and move it to the straw tick under the feather bed.’
    • ‘She'd hidden a straw tick in the shed, and a crock of chilled butter for her welts.’
    • ‘‘Yes sir,’ she whispered as Jeeka entered the house with the full straw ticks.’
    • ‘He quickly reached the top and started throwing down ticks, pillows and blankets.’
    • ‘We passed through that room and into he next where a straw tick was laid on the wooden floor.’
    1. 1.1
      short for ticking

Origin

Late Middle English: probably Middle Low German, Middle Dutch tēke, or Middle Dutch tīke, via West Germanic from Latin theca case, from Greek thēkē.

Pronunciation:

tick

/tɪk/

Main definitions of tick in English

: tick1tick2tick3tick4

tick4

noun

British
informal
  • On credit.

    ‘the printer agreed to send the brochures out on tick’
    • ‘It's a sign of changed circumstances in the Valley that another growth area is the repossession of cars bought on tick, whose owners can no longer afford to keep up the repayments.’
    • ‘What can possibly be the answer to the funding crisis facing budding start-ups wanting to get IT kit on tick?’
    • ‘Billy puts about a million dollars worth of party things, including the biggest possible marquee, on tick.’
    • ‘A miracle-worker who virtually robbed Peter to pay Paul, she'd get things on tick and then save to pay people back.’
    • ‘Living on tick, Adam sees nothing for it but to hop back aboard the carousel of fashionable metropolitan parties.’
    • ‘If you buy it on tick it'll be worn out before you've finished paying for it.’
    • ‘We are too fond of living for the day, of buying on tick and the never-never.’
    • ‘It also means the good countries can operate on tick for years.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: apparently short for ticket in the phrase on the ticket, referring to an IOU or promise to pay.

Pronunciation:

tick

/tɪk/