lick

verb
\ 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

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

Light- or short-coated dogs can get sunburned, so ask your vet for recommendations on canine sunscreen because some human sunscreens are toxic if your pet licks them off. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know About Hiking With Your Dog," 12 Feb. 2019 Some smelled it, licked it, or took tiny nibbles around the edges, hoping the examiner wouldn't notice. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "R.I.P. Walter Mischel, father of the infamous Marshmallow Test," 14 Sep. 2018 Long-haired pups who frequently lick themselves (often because of itchy skin) could end up ingesting fur that causes a clog, Huggins says. Marygrace Taylor, Good Housekeeping, "6 Things Your Dog's Poop Can Tell You About Its Health," 11 July 2018 Republicans meanwhile, are licking their lips at the prospect of a hard-left turn by Democrats. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Socialism rises in Democratic Party as primary season of upsets comes to close," 18 Sep. 2018 One way to play with temperature is to suck on ice cubes and lick each other's erogenous zones. Suzannah Weiss, Glamour, "17 Foreplay Tips & Ideas You'll Be Dying to Try," 18 Jan. 2019 Ricky was around when Ariana infamously licked a donut! Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Who is Ricky Alvarez? All About Ariana Grande’s Mysterious Ex In “Thank U, Next," 6 Nov. 2018 The soundtrack is superb as well, accompanying a teenager's story with the kind of indie gems and rich guitar licks a stereotypical teenager would instantly find compelling. Julie Muncy, Ars Technica, "Life Is Strange 2, episode 1 review: New setting, same heart," 28 Sep. 2018 Pictures of the fawn sitting in his lap in a patrol car and licking his neck have been shared more than 16,000 times on Facebook. Lorin Eleni Gill, The Seattle Times, "Highway Patrol officer rescues fawn from California wildfire," 31 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In any case, a little celebration is in order after the 1099s and 1040s and receipts and what-not have been gathered up, tabulated and sent off with a lick and a promise to the U.S. Treasury and the State of Wisconsin. Jan Uebelherr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Taxes filed? Celebrate (or commiserate) with a party," 14 Apr. 2018 The Chronicle put its entire staff to work yesterday running down these reports, and is happy to say that there is not a lick of truth in them: The ... armada of 12 aircraft carriers and 87 warships was lying at anchor a mile off the Farallones. Johnny Miller, San Francisco Chronicle, "US ports closed to honor MLK," 28 Mar. 2018 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

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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Learn More about lick

Dictionary Entries near lick

lichtsome

Licinius

licit

lick

licker

licker-in

lickerish

Statistics for lick

Last Updated

21 Apr 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 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.

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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