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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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, "Free Marijuana For Covid-19 Vaccines Proves To Be A Popular Perk," 7 May 2021 Sometimes a dog develops a chronic itch, possibly from an insect bite, and seeks relief through licking and scratching. Michael Pollick,, "The best dog itch relief spray," 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, "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

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.

See More

First Known Use of licking


1756, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about licking

Time Traveler for licking

Time Traveler

The first known use of licking was in 1756

See more words from the same year

Statistics for licking

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Licking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for licking



English Language Learners Definition of licking

: a severe beating
: a severe defeat

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!