\ ˈlik How to pronounce lick (audio) \
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



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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The break should give the Clippers time to lick the wounds from their recent slide. Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2022 The dogs could easily be restrained by their owners, but the owners choose to let their pets continue to lick me to their hearts’ content. Judith Martin, Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2022 Some women lick their fingers and gaze seductively into the camera. Shauna Stuart |, al, 7 July 2021 With a soundtrack provided by the USC marching band, and in front of hundreds of cheering spectators, Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and John Fruiscante made the most of the photo opp, going so far as to lick the star once it was revealed. Shirley Halperin, Variety, 31 Mar. 2022 Frontman Kiedis even celebrated the moment by squatting down and pretending to lick the star on the ground. Vanessa Etienne,, 1 Apr. 2022 Jules notices and dares Elliot to lick her stomach. Erica Gonzales, ELLE, 31 Jan. 2022 To be fair, the CDC never officially said not to lick random people. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 1 Jan. 2022 Earlier this month, a political candidate who lost a village election in the state of Bihar was captured on video forcing two Dalit men to lick spit off the ground as punishment for not voting for him. Los Angeles Times, 26 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hasn’t made a lick of difference and my shoulders thank me. Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2022 Your teammates are actually complimenting you by not playing a lick of D. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Apr. 2022 And just after gracing us at the 2022 Grammys with those smoky eyes, she's promised to not wear a lick of makeup until her next performance, seemingly as preparation (or a break) before the major festival to come. Jennet Jusu, Allure, 5 Apr. 2022 Lash extensions and a lick of jet-black liquid eyeliner completed the bewitching stares. Twiggy Jalloh, Vogue, 18 Feb. 2022 Maurissa and Riley lick whipped cream off each other. Ali Barthwell, Vulture, 15 Sep. 2021 Seriously, stuff some sandwiches into your Yeezy Gap Round Jacket, because there is not a lick of food to be had anywhere on the various acres that compose the fair site. Los Angeles Times, 18 Feb. 2022 World-class singer-guitarist Phil Keaggy was interviewed but only shows up for a guitar lick and a giggle. Chris Willman, Variety, 6 Oct. 2021 But in our home, Riley had been there in her usual place on the couch — the coveted spot next to a window — waiting for another walk, an extra snuggle, a bonus face lick. Washington Post, 21 Aug. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of lick


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


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lick


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

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Time Traveler for lick

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

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for lick


\ ˈlik How to pronounce lick (audio) \
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.



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

More from Merriam-Webster on lick

Nglish: Translation of lick for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lick for Arabic Speakers


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