tickle

verb
tick·​le | \ ˈti-kəl How to pronounce tickle (audio) \
tickled; tickling\ ˈti-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce tickle (audio) \

Definition of tickle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to touch (a body part, a person, etc.) lightly so as to excite the surface nerves and cause uneasiness, laughter, or spasmodic movements
2a : to excite or stir up agreeably : please music … does more than tickle our sense of rhythm— Edward Sapir
b : to provoke to laughter or merriment : amuse were tickled by the clown's antics
3 : to touch or stir gently a pianist tickling the ivories

intransitive verb

1 : to have a tingling or prickling sensation my back tickles
2 : to excite the surface nerves to prickle

tickle

noun

Definition of tickle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of tickling
2 : a tickling sensation
3 : something that tickles

Examples of tickle in a Sentence

Verb Her little brother screamed with laughter as she tickled him. The tag on the sweater tickled his neck. My nose started to tickle. Don't touch me there; it tickles. We were tickled by the invitation. The idea of going to the party tickled her. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Song-guessing game Heardle continues to tickle the earbuds of music fans around the world, allowing players to guess a song based on increasingly long snippets of its introduction. Matt Gardner, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Don’t fret, there are also cozy sweatpants and lightweight shorts that are sure to tickle your fancy. Daisy Maldonado, SELF, 25 Mar. 2022 Or of eliminating elders from a show that wanted to tickle the fancy of young viewers? Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 21 Mar. 2022 Obama picked Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic justice, and a woman no less, which managed to tickle the intersectional sweet spot for progressives. Damon Linker, The Week, 27 Jan. 2022 If for some reason that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s always the Lucky Charms pancakes. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Jan. 2022 Other researchers are feeling optimistic about nasal-spray vaccines that could tickle out airway-specific immune responses. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 29 Dec. 2021 All rapid tests authorized for emergency use in the U.S. require a sturdy swab of your nasal cavity, though not deep enough to tickle your brain like early PCR tests. al, 5 Jan. 2022 The couple swoop in and lower the sides of the crib, reaching past tubes and monitors to kiss her and tickle her cheeks. Amanda Milkovits, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To kick things off, the G-Node sends a tickle of power through it. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 17 Feb. 2022 Is that familiar allergic tickle in your throat showing up earlier in the spring? Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Mar. 2022 There’s that little primordial tickle at the base of your brain. Tom Vanderbilt, Outside Online, 28 Feb. 2022 This tickle turns into a wave, though, and that is what gets the heart cells in the cyborg fish moving. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 17 Feb. 2022 Jose Ramirez, a fast-food worker in San Francisco, woke up on New Year’s Eve with a tickle in his throat. New York Times, 4 Feb. 2022 Recently, the mayor has had a tickle in her throat that sometimes swells to a quaver in her voice, cutting her off prematurely in conversations and news conferences. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Jan. 2022 Nation/World Is that tickle in your nose COVID-19, or just a cold? Jaimie Ding, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Jan. 2022 Is that tickle in your nose COVID-19, or just a cold? Los Angeles Times, 8 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tickle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tickle

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

Noun

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tickle

Verb

Middle English tikelen; akin to Old English tinclian to tickle

Learn More About tickle

Time Traveler for tickle

Time Traveler

The first known use of tickle was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near tickle

ticking

tickle

tickled pink

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Statistics for tickle

Last Updated

28 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tickle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tickle. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tickle

tickle

verb
tick·​le | \ ˈti-kəl How to pronounce tickle (audio) \
tickled; tickling

Kids Definition of tickle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to have a tingling or prickling sensation My nose tickles.
2 : to touch (a body part) lightly so as to cause laughter or jerky movements I tickled the baby's feet.
3 : to excite or stir up agreeably This food tickles my taste buds.
4 : amuse sense 2 … Avery was tickled to find himself so wet …— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web

tickle

noun

Kids Definition of tickle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a tingling or prickling sensation

tickle

verb
tick·​le | \ ˈtik-əl How to pronounce tickle (audio) \
tickled; tickling\ -​(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce tickle (audio) \

Medical Definition of tickle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to have a tingling or prickling sensation my back tickles
2 : to excite the surface nerves to prickle

transitive verb

: to touch (as a body part) lightly so as to excite the surface nerves and cause uneasiness, laughter, or spasmodic movements

tickle

noun

Medical Definition of tickle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of tickling
2 : a tickling sensation a cough is a reflex to a tickle in the throat— Karl Menninger
3 : something that tickles

More from Merriam-Webster on tickle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tickle

Nglish: Translation of tickle for Spanish Speakers

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