lick·​ing | \ ˈli-kiŋ How to pronounce licking (audio) \

Definition of licking

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sound thrashing : drubbing
2 : defeat


geographical name
Lick·​ing | \ ˈli-kiŋ How to pronounce Licking (audio) \

Definition of Licking (Entry 2 of 2)

river 320 miles (515 kilometers) long in northeastern Kentucky flowing northwest into the Ohio River

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Examples of licking in a Sentence

Noun 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: Noun The Whistle GO Explore includes support for many more metrics about your pet—including noticing changes in licking or scratching—and a 20-day battery life per charge. Rachel King, Fortune, "Novelties and necessities for pet owners," 7 Nov. 2020 Sun exposure, diet and repetitive licking can actually strip the moisture from the lips, Freiling says. Samantha Driscoll, Better Homes & Gardens, "These Are the Lip Care Products You Need, According to Dermatologists," 29 Oct. 2020 In most of the shots, Hina is goofing off alongside the other pups — yawning, sneering or licking — while the other dogs smile perfectly at the camera. Kelli Bender,, "Shiba Inu Siblings Never Take a Perfect Family Photo Thanks to One Prankster Pooch," 21 Sep. 2020 This helps most dogs with anxiety, especially those showing compulsive behaviors such as excess chewing and licking. Lauren Corona,, "The best calming dog treat," 9 Sep. 2020 The trio from Beaumont picked up Lily and Zeus in a frenzy of licking and hugging. Liz Hardaway,, "San Antonio offers friendly help, refuge to hurricane evacuees’ furry family members, too," 28 Aug. 2020 And the licking is a way of showing affection and bonding among bovine. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "Herd community: There’s more to cows than we thought, say scientists," 18 Aug. 2020 If tree licking provides a significant proportion of koalas’ water needs, researchers hope their results can identify areas where water should be supplemented as the rain dries up. Amanda Heidt, Science | AAAS, "Bizarre behavior shows—for the first time—how wild koalas drink," 5 May 2020 Excessive paw licking, however, could be a sign of a larger issue that requires a vet’s attention. Southern Living, "Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?," 17 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'licking.' 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 licking


1756, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for licking

Time Traveler

The first known use of licking was in 1756

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Cite this Entry

“Licking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for licking


How to pronounce Licking (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of licking

: a severe beating
: a severe defeat

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