lick·​ing ˈli-kiŋ How to pronounce licking (audio)
: a sound thrashing : drubbing
: defeat

Examples of licking in a Sentence

His father threatened to give him a licking if he didn't stop misbehaving. our team took a licking last night, but we'll get them next time
Recent Examples on the Web Excessive scratching and/or licking are among the first signs of allergies, according to the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 21 May 2024 Potential complications to itchy paws are secondary yeast and/or bacterial infections, caused by a breakdown of the skin’s barriers due to incessant licking or chewing. Dr. Devon B. Smith, Baltimore Sun, 1 May 2024 Lip licking causes a vicious cycle of licking lips to hydrate, only to dry them out more said Dr. Shayan Cheraghlou, academic chief dermatology resident at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Jocelyn Solis-Moreira, CNN, 7 Apr. 2024 For example, a sudden onset of seemingly uncontrollable licking of random surfaces can indicate gastrointestinal problems. Anna Nordseth, Discover Magazine, 26 July 2023 See all Example Sentences for licking 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'licking.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1756, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of licking was in 1756

Dictionary Entries Near licking

Cite this Entry

“Licking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Lick·​ing ˈli-kiŋ How to pronounce Licking (audio)
river 320 miles (515 kilometers) long in northeastern Kentucky flowing northwest into the Ohio River

More from Merriam-Webster on licking

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