lick

verb
\ ˈlik \
licked; licking; licks

Definition of lick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a(1) : to draw the tongue over
(2) : to flicker over like a tongue
b : to take into the mouth with the tongue : lap
2a : to strike repeatedly : thrash
b : to get the better of : overcome, defeat

intransitive verb

1 : to lap with or as if with the tongue
2 : to dart like a tongue
lick into shape
: to put into proper form or condition
lick one's chops
: to feel or show eager anticipation
lick one's wounds
: to recover from defeat or disappointment

lick

noun

Definition of lick (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act or instance of licking
b : a small amount : bit couldn't swim a lick
c : a hasty careless effort
2a : a sharp hit : blow
b : a directed effort : crack usually used in plural usually used in the phrase get in one's licks
3a : a natural salt deposit (such as a salt spring) that animals lick
b : a block of often medicated saline preparation given to livestock to lick
4 : a musical figure specifically : an interpolated and usually improvised figure or flourish
5 : a critical thrust : dig, barb
lick and a promise
: a perfunctory performance of a task

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Examples of lick in a Sentence

Verb

He licked the stamp before putting it on the envelope. The dog licked at the plate. She licked the sauce off her finger. The cat licked the milk off her paws. Flames were already licking the ceiling. Flames were already licking at the ceiling.

Noun

Could I have a lick of your ice cream? It just needs a lick of paint.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Priyanka, in a chic all-white ski get-up, shared a silly photo of Nick about to lick her forehead. Tess Kornfeld, Glamour, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Are on a Couples' Ski Vacation With Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas," 29 Dec. 2018 Men such as Brent may enjoy being forced to lick and smell feet, ideally ones that are stinky and sweaty. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "Everything You've Wanted to Know About Foot Fetishes, But Were Afraid to Ask," 17 Aug. 2018 They get licked up and down all the time for a decade now. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Startup advisor Elad Gil is worried that we’re losing our ability to be optimistic about tech," 20 Aug. 2018 Feline leukemia, a usually fatal cancer caused by a retrovirus, spreads from cat to cat via saliva, when the animals lick, bite, or groom one another. Dr. Rob Sharp, Country Living, "Does my Indoor Cat Need Feline Leukemia Vaccine?," 28 June 2010 The perfect scenario is a flame that licks up between two pieces of wood that are about an inch apart. Ross Mccammon, Popular Mechanics, "How to Build the Perfect Fireplace Fire," 30 Nov. 2018 For now, though, the asset managers are licking early wounds. Stella Yifan Xie, WSJ, "BlackRock, Fidelity Launches Hit By Chinese Share Decline," 9 Sep. 2018 If this baby is sharing its home with a dog, that dog and baby have probably been licking each other on the face for several months. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Husband and wife disagree over work-life balance," 29 June 2018 If this baby is sharing its home with a dog, that dog and baby have probably been licking each other on the face for several months. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Husband and wife disagree over work-life balance," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Unlike his Wisconsin counterpart, though, Leo Fender couldn’t play a lick of music. David Kirby, WSJ, "‘The Birth of Loud’ Review: Constructive Feedback," 17 Jan. 2019 For another thing, nothing happening on the field made a lick of sense. Dugan Arnett, BostonGlobe.com, "What happened when a soccer skeptic sat through a World Cup match," 11 July 2018 So is their father, their sisters and especially the family dog with her warm licks and fuzzy fur. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "Tryout season is here. How to help your kids through the pressure and anxiety," 17 May 2018 Gathering lick pics Researchers first captured footage of a domestic cat grooming using a high-speed video camera. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Science says your cat’s tongue is ideally suited for grooming fur," 28 Dec. 2018 Parrots and macaws flash green, red, blue, and yellow at the world’s largest clay lick, a short trip from the lodge. Austin Merrill, WSJ, "The Amazon: The Heart of the World," 3 Dec. 2018 Models in the 2009 video devour the picture plane in suggestive licks and kisses. Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, "Marilyn Minter considers glamour, power at Ratio 3," 7 June 2018 How rare is it to be infected through a dog lick or bite? Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Death from a dog lick? Veterinarian explains rare infection triggered by pets' saliva," 15 Aug. 2018 May 4th – Marchand licks Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan Marchand and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Callahan got physical with each other a few times Friday night, but Callahan received a lick on the cheek for confronting Marchand following a low hit. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "A strange history of Brad Marchand kissing and licking NHL players," 5 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lick.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lick

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

Noun

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lick

Verb

Middle English, from Old English liccian; akin to Old High German leckōn to lick, Latin lingere, Greek leichein

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Dictionary Entries near lick

lichtsome

Licinius

licit

lick

licker

licker-in

lickerish

Statistics for lick

Last Updated

10 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lick

The first known use of lick was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for lick

lick

verb

English Language Learners Definition of lick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to pass the tongue over (a surface, an object, etc.)
: to take (something) into your mouth with your tongue
: to lightly touch or go over (a surface)

lick

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lick (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of passing your tongue over something : the act of licking something
informal : a small amount
informal : a hard hit

lick

verb
\ ˈlik \
licked; licking

Kids Definition of lick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to pass the tongue over I licked the spoon.
2 : to touch or pass over like a tongue They saw flames licking a wall.
3 : to hit again and again : beat
4 : to get the better of : defeat The home team licked their opponents.

Other Words from lick

licking noun When Mom finds out, you're going to get a licking.

lick

noun

Kids Definition of lick (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of passing the tongue over
2 : a small amount My sister never did a lick of work.
3 : a place ( salt lick ) where salt is found or provided for animals

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More from Merriam-Webster on lick

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lick

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lick

Spanish Central: Translation of lick

Nglish: Translation of lick for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lick for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lick

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