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

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 Both books tell the story of a child prodigy who learned to take a licking as part of the family act. Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, 21 Jan. 2022 The company provides summaries to share with vets and alerts around behavioral problems like excessive licking or scratching. Laura Cooper, WSJ, 12 Jan. 2022 While toads have been revered by ancient cultures, this particular backstory of toad licking was conjured up by purveyors of 5-MEO-DMT. Jahan Marcu, Rolling Stone, 7 Jan. 2022 Common signs of allergies in dogs include itching, loss of fur, irritated eyes, the licking of paws, dry skin and red, inflamed skin. Star Tribune, 25 June 2021 If the licking is bothersome, don't reprimand the dog, but instead distract them from their mission with a treat. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 28 May 2021 All those joints were rolled by volunteers, with a safety protocol that included gloves, masks, and absolutely no licking of rolling papers. A.j. Herrington, Forbes, 7 May 2021 Sometimes a dog develops a chronic itch, possibly from an insect bite, and seeks relief through licking and scratching. Michael Pollick,, 30 Mar. 2021 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, 7 Nov. 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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The first known use of licking was in 1756

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Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Licking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of licking

: a severe beating
: a severe defeat

More from Merriam-Webster on licking

Nglish: Translation of licking for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of licking for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about licking


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