Main definitions of tick in US English:

: tick1tick2tick3tick4

tick1

noun

  • 1A regular short, sharp sound, especially that made by a clock or watch.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The tick of this pulsar clock is very regular, a sharp pulse every 0.059 second.’
    • ‘She so loves the heartbeat of a clock: the tick, the pause, the lock.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is an artificial construct of man that simply represents the number of ticks from a 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By using the very basis of matter, we can define the second to be 9,192,631,770 ticks of the caesium clock.’
    • ‘Three seconds, three ticks of the clock, and the transformation from smoke to human was complete.’
    • ‘The second will be defined to be so many ticks of the standard clock.’
    • ‘At this time of night, the tick of the clock synchronises itself with my heartbeat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If we need the high order positions of the number, they will be ready in two ticks (one clock cycle).’
    • ‘The grandfather clock's never ending ticks echoed throughout the pub.’
    • ‘It was regular, a beat; not quite a tap, more of a tick.’
    • ‘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 tireless tick of the clock could be heard during lulls in the conversation.’
    • ‘Each tick of the clock was accompanied by the amplified sound of a human heartbeat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The obnoxious tick of the clock clicked annoyingly over the thunder itself.’
    clicking, click, clack, clacking, click-clack, ticking, tick-tock, snick, snicking, plock, plocking, beat, tap, tapping
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British informal A moment (used especially to reassure someone that one will return or be ready very soon)
      ‘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.’
      moment, second, minute, bit, little while, short time, instant, split second
      soon, very soon, in a second, in a minute, in a moment, in a trice, in a flash, shortly, any second, any minute, any minute now, in a short time, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, in no time, in less than no time, in no time at all, before you know it, before long
      View synonyms
  • 2British A mark (✓) used to indicate that an item in a list or text is correct or has been chosen, checked, or dealt with; a check mark.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The translator now translates each string and switches the yellow question mark to a green tick when completed.’
    • ‘And there's ticks and crosses to indicate everyone's preferences.’
    • ‘The chromosome maps are given below the images, with black tick marks indicating the position of markers.’
    • ‘Graham's to-do list is now a mess of ticks and crossings-out, with only one job left to do.’
    • ‘The original entry on the record read ‘IV Anti-D’, followed by a tick.’
    • ‘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 tick marks on the x-axes represent genetic markers.’
    • ‘I have a tick with a question mark next to paragraph 93, and paragraph 94 just does not follow on the facts.’
    • ‘Then it's in or out, a tick or a cross, Mr or Ms Right or Mr / Ms No Thank You Very Much.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘You can call the agents tomorrow,’ said Graham, poring over his to-do list, all ticks and crossings out.’
    • ‘A tick indicates that the sentence is true that day; a blank that it is not.’
    • ‘A map of the Urus-Martan area is black from ticks and marks indicating ordnance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each tick mark indicates that a nucleotide within the strain differs from the consensus sequence.’
    • ‘The paper then comes back with a tick or a cross on it and nothing more!’
    • ‘If any running column total exceeds 11, subtract 11 and put a tick mark in that column.’
    mark, stroke, dash, line
    View synonyms
  • 3Stock Market
    The smallest recognized amount by which a price of a security or future may fluctuate.

    • ‘But if the economic numbers in mid-October go up even a tick, it could be a close-run thing.’
    • ‘After this morning's 2-point surge on the release, the bond market closed the day down a tick.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Firstly, a tick is any movement, up or down, however small, in the price of a security.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This establishes a baseline volume for the day to which all subsequent ticks can be related.’
    • ‘The 10-year bond fared somewhat better, losing 11 ticks.’
    • ‘And within an hour it had given back all of that, too - give or take a couple of ticks.’
    • ‘Any tick up in interest rates spells relief for income-starved investors who have their nest eggs locked up in certificates of deposit.’
    • ‘Their price moves almost tick for tick with the index.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Professional forecasters are predicting a tick down in GDP in 2005.’

verb

  • 1no 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’
    • ‘We were quiet for a few minutes; the only sound was the clock ticking on the wall.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I watched the clock tick off the seconds, and finally click over into place.’
    • ‘The clock on the wall ticked on, its sound echoing through the otherwise silent room.’
    • ‘She suddenly took notice of what sounded like a clock ticking.’
    • ‘AS THE clock ticks past midnight and today moves into tomorrow, the new world rankings will be spat out from a computer in Florida.’
    • ‘Want to be fully informed as the calendar ticks over to 2003?’
    • ‘The clock had barely started ticking in the second period before Killie equalised.’
    • ‘The calendar is loaded, the meter is ticking and that damn clock has to be fast, doesn't it?’
    • ‘Gardner and teammates watched helplessly as the final six seconds ticked off the clock.’
    • ‘Instead, her eyes stayed open, staring into the dark, and she watched the luminescent numbers on her clock tick slowly by.’
    • ‘The first act is played with the sound of a clock ticking and whistling wind running through it, setting a foreboding atmosphere.’
    • ‘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 think I had watched the clock tick for 4 hours when it claimed only ten minutes had go by.’
    • ‘She watched the plastic hands tick off each second.’
    • ‘Measuring motions in this absolute space also required a universal clock, which ticked off the seconds for all the inhabitants of the cosmos.’
    • ‘He slid out of bed into the darkness and picked up his cellphone, watching the numbers on the clock tick.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All that could be heard besides the patter of raindrops against the window was the sound of the clock ticking off the seconds.’
    • ‘Reporters spend most of their time reporting and then as the clock ticks, start banging away at the keys.’
    • ‘I sunk lower in my seat and watched the clock tick.’
    click, clack, tick-tock, snick, plock, beat, tap
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1tick away/by/past (of time) pass (used especially when someone is pressed for time or keenly awaiting an event)
      ‘the minutes were ticking away till the actor's appearance’
      • ‘Meanwhile time was ticking by and there no sign of a start to recording.’
      • ‘As time ticks away, Charlie tries to mediate between Johnny Boy and Michael.’
      • ‘But as time passed and seconds slowly ticked away like eternity, Liz began to lose hope.’
      • ‘Every moment that ticks by could provide new clues to help police track down the sniper.’
      • ‘I hurried to be on time but the time was ticking past 17: 05.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘An hour had ticked by since he'd moved into position.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And our dwindling supply of eggs is getting more addled with every day that ticks by.’
      • ‘The Treasurer maintains every day that ticks by is just more expense and confusion.’
      • ‘As the 2004 election campaign ticks away its frantic dying days, Ohio finds itself having to decide who will be the next president.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All the while the pregnancy ticks away… closer and closer to the 24 week mark at which point abortion becomes difficult and dangerous.’
      • ‘The long chain of people moved irritably slow, minutes ticking by with seemingly no progress being made.’
      • ‘Well, Miles, each moment that ticks by increases the chances, of course, that there could be a hung jury in this case.’
    2. 1.2tick something awaywith object (of a clock or watch) mark the passing of time with regular short sharp sounds.
      ‘the little clock ticked the precious minutes away’
      • ‘As the clock ticks away to the end of the fishing season on all salmon rivers north of the Borders region, I wonder how many of us will be throwing a sickie from work over the next three days?’
      • ‘Watching the clock on the wall tick seconds away, Cole realized that something was wrong about what she'd found yesterday.’
      • ‘I watched the hands on the watch tick my life away.’
      • ‘But because they are all clocks, they harmonize with one another, as the faces match, and the hands are all ticking the time away at the same rate.’
      • ‘The ancient clock is ticking, ticking the seconds away, but time has been standing still all the while.’
      • ‘The clock slowly ticked the hours away, as I held it in my hands.’
      • ‘They walked down the hallway, through another door, and Jack looked at the simple white paint and the large grandfather clock against one wall, quietly ticking the time away.’
      • ‘I could hear the clock ticking seconds away as the snake and spider paced restlessly between us.’
      • ‘Even as the clock ticks away loud and clear in the silence of the examination hall, the sound of the clock turns into the jittery call of your pounding heart.’
    3. 1.3 Proceed or progress.
      ‘her book was ticking along nicely’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the rest of us, it was yet another chance to see how the most dysfunctional relationship in Scottish politics was 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.’
      • ‘I like to keep the workout ticking along, and that brisk pace dictates minimal rest intervals.’
      • ‘As she watched, the numbers began ticking over; when they got to the bottom of the board, they started again from the top.’
      • ‘The Budget shouldn't be a giveaway, but must be ‘broadly neutral’ to keep the economy ticking along.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Besson's storyline is vaguely intriguing, and there is that swell car-chase sequence to keep things ticking along nicely.’
      • ‘Less than 2 weeks to go now (12 days, to be exact) and everything's ticking along nicely.’
      • ‘Or maybe they are just keeping the issue ticking along in order to appease their supporters.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was ticking along without a care in the world.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Leveling off at 16,000, I turned on the dumps and watched the fuel gauge tick down.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the second half, gas prices may well tick up again, especially with crude oil closing in on $43 per barrel on July 28.’
      • ‘At least my sale seems to be ticking along, which is one very important part of the equation.’
      • ‘Fat is a necessary evil, as the body requires just enough to keep the physiological system ticking along.’
      • ‘One page per day will keep things ticking along quite nicely.’
  • 2British 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In his leather bag he has an alphabetic list which he fastidiously ticks off after each visit.’
    • ‘Those stopped in the street and asked if they are ‘minded to make a big purchase’ will continue to tick the box marked ‘no’.’
    • ‘So you're ticking those days off on the calendar?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Participants were asked to explain why they had never used the Internet via a basic tick box.’
    mark, mark off, check off, indicate
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • what makes someone tick

    • informal What motivates someone.

      ‘people are curious to know what makes these men 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.’
      • ‘No one really knows how these people think, what makes them tick, and which of the five contenders stirs their blood.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Get in the head of each person, find out what makes them 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His son-in-law once said to him, ‘I have asked myself what makes you tick.’’
      • ‘I get a thrill when I can get into the male psyche and learn about what makes them tick.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • tick someone off

    • 1Make someone annoyed or angry.

      • ‘Those girls were always doing something to tick him off, angering him more than humanly possible.’
      • ‘Please forgive me and know that I likewise extend forgiveness to all who have offended, insulted, irritated, or otherwise ticked me 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.’
      • ‘Tell me why that ticks you off, makes you feel hopeless, and makes you think I am defeatist trash.’
      • ‘So at this point, was I worried about ticking them off?’
      • ‘Let what is deep within you come out whenever I write something that ticks you off!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So, if any of you are ticked off by the thing, my apologies.’
      • ‘I'll make some people mad for saying this, but I'll tell you what really ticks me 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
    • 2Reprimand or rebuke someone.

      ‘he was ticked off by Angela’
      ‘he got a ticking off from the boss’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then we were ticked off for not taking enough exercise.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mrs H first ticked her off for taking a silly route then offered her a hot bath.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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, lecture, criticize, censure
      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’
      • ‘Sipping bottled water before the concert in Huntington in March, he ticked off a long list of luminaries with whom he had worked.’
      • ‘So, start ticking the days off, as come the year 2004, Shane will no longer be a single man.’
      • ‘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".’
      • ‘Then it is ticked off a list of all birds found in this country.’
      • ‘You record and tick things off in the anecdote album.’
      • ‘But as for the diving, it is like ticking off entries in I Spy Underwater.’
      • ‘Her clipboard-wielding colleague Alan Greenlees demonstrates how this works, diligently scrutinising and ticking off trays of shells.’
      • ‘They didn't make any effort to tick people off the voters' list or stop them voting twice.’
      • ‘things are slowly being ticked off of the list.’
    • 2List items one by one in one's mind or during a speech.

      ‘he ticked the points off on his fingers’
      • ‘She ticked these things off like necessary items on a shopping list and as quickly forgot them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Puzzled, he looked around their small room, mentally ticking things off.’
      • ‘Charlie Kernaghan constantly ticks off a list of his failings and limits and terrors.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • tick over

    • 1(of an engine) idle.

      • ‘With the engine still ticking over, the lady was genuinely worried for her safety.’
      • ‘The engine will not tick over at less than 20000 revs.’
      • ‘I fired up the two big engines, they were ticking over beautifully at approximately 1000 rpm.’
      • ‘The only way I can get it to tick over is if I hold the accelerator lever back.’
      • ‘The engine will start and sounds fine but still won't tick over on its own and cuts if you rev it around 3000 rpm on the move.’
      1. 1.1Work or function at a basic or minimum level.
        ‘they are keeping things ticking over until their father returns’
        • ‘It comes, of course, at a time when North Korea is struggling to get fuel to keep its economy ticking over.’
        • ‘So Robinson needs $US1.2 million a year to keep things ticking over.’
        • ‘To date the US consumer has kept the economy ticking over while the manufacturing sector went into recession.’
        • ‘I think there was more pressure on me at the time because I came in to keep things ticking over for Celtic.’
        • ‘They keep all the bits in working order, not just ticking over in a repetitious way.’
        • ‘I've barely got enough blog in me to keep this site ticking over.’
        • ‘This has helped keep the economy ticking over until growth picks up.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The Catholic Church has apologised for the inconvenience, but reminds us that such work is necessary to keep the universe ticking over smoothly.’
        • ‘He had a little break after Newbury, but we've kept him ticking over since then.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘A positive opening in the US helped keep the Footsie ticking over while traders digested a gloomy third-quarter report from Colt Telecom.’

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//tik/

Main definitions of tick in US English:

: tick1tick2tick3tick4

tick2

noun

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

    Suborder Ixodida, order Acarina (or Acari)

    • ‘Typically, ticks wait on vegetation and jump on your shoes, socks, or pants when you walk by.’
    • ‘You often pick up ticks when walking through bracken, and they're best removed quickly if they attach themselves to you.’
    • ‘Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, which is most commonly spread to humans in the nymph stage of a tick's life.’
    • ‘Large ticks may carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, while the smaller, pinhead-size deer ticks can harbour Lyme disease.’
    • ‘More than a nuisance, fleas and ticks can transmit a host of pathogens and skin diseases to humans and their furry counterparts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Do a tick check every few hours or more often if in heavily infested areas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With Lyme disease, embedded ticks have moved from disgusting to dangerous.’
    • ‘It takes 24 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme disease, so rapid removal is important.’
    • ‘Scorpions are arachnids, relatives of spiders and ticks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It also repels and kills deer ticks that may transmit Lyme Disease.’
    • ‘Symptoms usually appear within a week of infection but may develop up to 30 days after the tick bite.’
    • ‘The tick attaches itself to the skin of the host and sucks its blood.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Those who cannot make their own fame will feed off the fame of others like a tick sucking the blood out of a dog.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1informal A parasitic louse fly.

Origin

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

Pronunciation

tick

/tɪk//tik/

Main definitions of tick in US 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.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘She'd hidden a straw tick in the shed, and a crock of chilled butter for her welts.’
    • ‘We passed through that room and into he next where a straw tick was laid on the wooden floor.’
    • ‘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.’
    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//tik/

Main definitions of tick in US English:

: tick1tick2tick3tick4

tick4

noun

in phrase on tick
British
informal
  • On credit.

    • ‘If you buy it on tick it'll be worn out before you've finished paying for it.’
    • ‘Living on tick, Adam sees nothing for it but to hop back aboard the carousel of fashionable metropolitan parties.’
    • ‘Billy puts about a million dollars worth of party things, including the biggest possible marquee, on tick.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘A miracle-worker who virtually robbed Peter to pay Paul, she'd get things on tick and then save to pay people back.’

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//tik/