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 Dogs may lick their paws and legs for many reasons, but the most common reasons are allergies, which causes itching, and arthritis, which causes pain in the joints. Cathy M. Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "Pet World: Puppy should be praised, given treat after urinating outside," 18 Oct. 2019 Flames already licked a second home on the cul-de-sac, which was choked with thick gray smoke, punctured only by the high beams of cars that sped out of the capillaries of small streets that crisscross the hillsides here. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, "Saddleridge fire approaches Aliso Canyon natural gas facility, site of massive 2015 blowout," 11 Oct. 2019 Flames already licked a second home on the cul-de-sac, which was choked with thick gray smoke, punctured only by the high beams of cars that sped out of the capillaries of small streets that crisscross the hillsides here. Anchorage Daily News, "L.A. fire burns homes, threatens communities in San Fernando Valley," 11 Oct. 2019 In one early-season scene, Rue (show lead Zendaya), who is a recovering addict, is forced to lick liquid fentanyl off of a knife by a sinister drug dealer. Jason Parham, WIRED, "In Praise of Euphoria, the Perfect Anti-Binge TV Show," 6 Aug. 2019 The Tigers would go on to win the Ohio Division II title, while Mount Healthy had to lick its wounds and go home. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Mt. Healthy alum, Chicago Bears rookie David Montgomery has defied odds in his path to victory," 15 Apr. 2019 Even the dog won't lick up spit-out carrots for some reason. Sarah Smith, Redbook, "9 Things I'll Supposedly Miss When He's No Longer a Baby," 5 Nov. 2013 Horizon will lick its wounds and come back against Sunnyslope at home next Friday. Staff, azcentral, "Arizona high school football Week 3 roundup: Perry outlasts Red Mountain in 4OT Thriller," 6 Sep. 2019 Adults rummage in antique stores, families try on hoodies at Melanzana, children lick ice cream off cones. Nic Garcia, The Denver Post, "Denver Post listening tour: Leadville looks to diversify beyond “scrappy mining town”," 14 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 2018, the festive sessions showcased a hippopotamus gobbling up a pumpkin while a tiger pawed around with one before eventually giving it a lick. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, "Disney's Animal Kingdom Continues Cute Jack-O'-Lantern Tradition With Animals for Halloween," 31 Oct. 2019 Having given the cafe a lick of paint and a new name — Le Saint Eloi, named after France’s patron saint of goldsmiths — Mustière is planning a grand reopening on Sept. 30. John Leicester, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Perk up: France resuscitates dying villages 1 cafe at a time," 23 Sep. 2019 Having given the cafe a lick of paint and a new name — Le Saint Eloi, named after France’s patron saint of goldsmiths — Mustière is planning a grand reopening on Sept. 30. Washington Post, "Perk up: France resuscitates dying villages 1 cafe at a time," 23 Sep. 2019 The rabies virus lives in in the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite, a scratch, or by a lick in an open wound, the eye or the mouth according to the Carroll County Health Department. Iris Katz, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Pet Wise: Rabies represents a continued threat in Carroll County, even in 2019," 13 Sep. 2019 There’s a part of me that would like to spend a year dancing around their studios and playing a little lick and leaving and trying to sprinkle myself on them a little bit and leaving. Los Angeles Times, "In a new doc, David Foster reminds us he’s more than a reality TV star: There are those 16 Grammys," 12 Sep. 2019 At the meeting, Kaufman, who has also been the dog park liaison throughout its existence, said spigots were removed because of the drought and park users not using them — or the later lick-style spigots — properly. Pomerado News, "Maienschein secures $500K for RB Dog Park improvements," 3 July 2019 On the way, use cool — not cold — water to cool the animal, and have the dog lick ice cubes. Rubbing alcohol on the footpads can help. Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Watch for heatstroke in dogs," 24 Aug. 2019 It is laid with plates that rise a few inches off the table, as if levitating, each one sumptuously painted with wings or petals or licks of flame emanating from a glowing center: variations on the vulva. Sasha Weiss, New York Times, "Judy Chicago, the Godmother," 7 Feb. 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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Time Traveler for lick

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for lick

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Lick.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/licked. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for lick

lick

verb
How to pronounce lick (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lick

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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