\ ˈsik How to pronounce sic (audio) , ˈsēk How to pronounce sic (audio) \

Definition of sic

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: intentionally so written used after a printed word or passage to indicate that it is intended exactly as printed or to indicate that it exactly reproduces an originalsaid he seed [sic] it all


\ ˈsik How to pronounce sic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly sick
sicced also sicked\ ˈsikt How to pronounce sicked (audio) \; siccing also sicking

Definition of sic (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : chase, attack usually used as a command especially to a dogsic 'em
2 : to incite or urge to an attack, pursuit, or harassment : set sicced their lawyers on me


\ ˈsik How to pronounce sic (audio) \

Definition of sic (Entry 3 of 3)

chiefly Scottish variant of

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Did You Know?

The adverb sic, usually enclosed in brackets, is a word editors use in the reproduction of someone else's speech or writing to indicate that an unexpected form exactly reproduces the original and is not a copier's mistake. Sic comes from Latin, in which it means "so" or "thus." Though it's a useful tool, some usage commentators feel it is bad manners to use a sic to needlessly call attention to someone's error or to deride the language of a less-educated person.

Examples of sic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb All of these people are the latest victims of an internet-age crime called swatting, in which bad actors sic the police on a fellow internet user who has angered, offended, or simply annoyed them. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "Swatting Is a Deadly Problem—Here's the Solution," 22 Aug. 2019 Then, in the third scene, Hobbs seeks vengeance against Shaw for an airport-search prank by sicking the London police on him. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "What the Hobbs & Shaw Post-Credits Scenes Mean for the Fast & Furious Franchise," 2 Aug. 2019 In a bid to curb losses on its platform, Venmo is threatening to sic debt collectors on some users who carry negative balances in their accounts, according to customer-service emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Peter Rudegeair, WSJ, "Venmo to Users: If You Owe Us Money, We’re Coming for It," 25 Mar. 2019 And that the internet should sic itself on she who committed such a sin, and her alone? Amy Odell, Cosmopolitan, "Kim Kardashian Didn't Just Ruin Taylor Swift, She Ruined Taylor Swift's Squad," 19 July 2016 Loeb did not hesitate to sic police officers on sanitation strikers, their families and their supporters—including Gladys Carpenter, a veteran organizer who was present at both the 1965 Selma march and the Meredith March Against Fear. Kirsten West Savali, The Root, "Watch: Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Memphis Sanitation Workers Go On Strike," 19 Feb. 2018 Harvey Weinstein survived by placing financial pressure on his victims and offering incentives to everyone else to keep quiet; the markets that made him a millionaire enabled him to hire literal spies and sic them on Rose McGowan. Sarah Jones, New Republic, "The Year in Class War," 8 Dec. 2017 And while most weeks the Vikings can just sic Xavier Rhodes on the opposing team’s best receiver (in this case Antonio Brown) and forget it, the Steelers’ wide variety of weapons and those troublesome 3x1 alignments could mitigate Rhodes’ impact. Gary Gramling,, "NFL Week 2 Preview: Mike Daniels: Superhero, Short-Term Ills of the Patriots and Giants, Hands Down the Best Celebration in Football," 17 Sep. 2017 Trump threatened to sic the Justice Department on Hillary Clinton for her Crimes Against Emails during a presidential debate. Jack Holmes, Esquire, "Every Day, the Trump White House Disrespects the FBI and the Department of Justice," 14 Sep. 2017

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


circa 1859, in the meaning defined above


1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sic


Latin, so, thus — more at so


alteration of seek

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Cite this Entry

“Sic.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for sic


How to pronounce sic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

US, informal : to attack (someone or something)


How to pronounce sic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sic (Entry 2 of 2)

used in writing after an error (such as a spelling error) in a quotation to show that the error was made by the speaker or writer who is being quoted and not by you

More from Merriam-Webster on sic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sic

Comments on sic

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


dull or mediocre

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