\ ˈtik How to pronounce tic (audio) \

Definition of tic

1 : local and habitual spasmodic motion of particular muscles especially of the face : twitching
2 : a frequent usually unconscious quirk of behavior or speech "you know" is a verbal tic

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Examples of tic in a Sentence

The verbal tic “you know” often occurs in her speech. constantly playing with her hair is one of her more annoying tics
Recent Examples on the Web Baby Yoda, the breakout Disney Plus creature of the moment, would never have snuggled into the zeitgeist if the rotors and motors and animatronic tics of his wizened green forebear hadn’t clicked into place exactly 40 years ago. Michael Cavna, Washington Post, "The secrets to creating an irresistible Star Wars creature, from Chewie to Baby Yoda," 19 Dec. 2019 The cast delivers strong performances, especially those playing the avatars, who must channel both their characters and the individual tics of whoever is playing those avatars. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Jumanji: The Next Level is less fresh this time around but still lots of fun," 13 Dec. 2019 The algorithm identified text differences and tics more granular than what human scholars have already noticed, expanding their evidence. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "To AI, or Not To AI: Artificial Intelligence Helps Define Shakespeare," 23 Nov. 2019 His voice and tics are just so strong, so signature. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "DaBaby Has Become Rap’s Reliable Resource," 1 Oct. 2019 This is not a mere figure of speech, the linguistic tic of an ordinary megalomaniac. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Prince Don," 27 Sep. 2019 Create a tic-tac-toe pattern by stretching two pieces of tape parallel to each other across the mouth of the glass, then stretch two more pieces over the glass perpendicular to the first two, overlapping the tape into a grid pattern. NBC News, "How to DIY your own holiday tablescape in under 30 minutes," 23 Nov. 2019 His pieces are exquisite and classy — martini and whiskey glasses, dessert bowls, crystal ice cube tic-tac-toe sets and handblown cheese domes. Washington Post, "Burlington," 13 Nov. 2019 What used to feel like Sherman-Palladino trademarks now come across as tics: the barrage of inane chatter; the superficial stereotyping; the overreliance on spectacle without substance, like a dinner composed entirely of cake pops. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 7 Dec. 2019

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

circa 1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tic


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Time Traveler for tic

Time Traveler

The first known use of tic was circa 1834

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Statistics for tic

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tic. Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for tic


How to pronounce tic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tic

: a small repeated movement of a muscle especially in the face that cannot be controlled
: a word or phrase that someone frequently says or an action that someone frequently does without intending to


\ ˈtik How to pronounce tic (audio) \

Medical Definition of tic

1 : local and habitual spasmodic motion of particular muscles especially of the face : twitching
2 : a habitual usually unconscious quirk of behavior or speech

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More from Merriam-Webster on tic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tic

Spanish Central: Translation of tic

Nglish: Translation of tic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tic

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