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


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

Stain resistant and easy-to-clean microsuede slipcovers mean that this sofa can take a licking and keep on ticking! Laura Eckstein, Good Housekeeping, "Best Sofas Under $1000," 14 May 2012 Cats lick to groom themselves, but sometimes, things like boredom, stress, pain and even nutritional deficiencies can lead to excessive licking of themselves as well as other things around the home. Cathy M. Rosenthal,, "Young Reader Is Worried About Her Lethargic Dog," 6 June 2018 Marchand, who has been suspended four times in his NHL career for other kinds of on-ice misconduct, has never faced discipline for unsolicited kissing and licking. Michael Mccann,, "A Look at the Possible Consequences of Brad Marchand's Tactic of Licking Opponents," 6 May 2018 Along those lines, there is no record of prosecutors prosecuting NHL players for unwanted licking (or kissing) of opposing teams’ players. Michael Mccann,, "A Look at the Possible Consequences of Brad Marchand's Tactic of Licking Opponents," 6 May 2018 Marchand spoke to senior vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell and general manager Don Sweeney on Saturday as the league issued a warning to stop the licking. Jimmy Hascup, USA TODAY, "Bruins coach to Brad Marchand: 'Find another way' to agitate that doesn't involve licking," 6 May 2018 There's no excusing her licking donuts, but as far as her comments about America go, there's one person who thinks everyone is overreacting: Raven-Symone. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "Raven-Symone Defends Ariana Grande's "I Hate America" Comment," 10 July 2015 Tough Trocheck takes a licking and keeps on dishing. Walter Villa, miamiherald, "The Panthers’ home winning streak may be over, but the playoff chase is alive and well | Miami Herald," 12 Mar. 2018 Rhonda A: Cats are fastidious groomers, but excessive licking and the resulting alopecia is often a symptom of another problem that needs to be addressed. Cathy M. Rosenthal, San Antonio Express-News, "The top signs your dog is stressed," 5 Jan. 2018

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

The first known use of licking was in 1756

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English Language Learners Definition of licking

: a severe beating
: a severe defeat

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Comments on licking

What made you want to look up licking? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a tendency to relapse

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