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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But both contain iridoids, a suite of chemicals that seem to potently tickle pleasure circuits in cats. New York Times, "Your Cat Isn’t Just Getting High Off Catnip," 20 Jan. 2021 Hanami Froom will join in Tomaso Vitali’s Chaconne for Violin and String Orchestra, and Jacob Nenow will tickle the ivories for the first movement of J. S. Bach’s Piano Concerto in D Minor. oregonlive, "12 classical music performances to stir and soothe winter of our discontent," 11 Jan. 2021 At the very least, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity could tickle my rat brain more. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity," 18 Nov. 2020 Look no further than these creative options to tickle your fancy. Karla Pope, Good Housekeeping, "100 Girl Cat Names That Are as Cute and Lovable as Your Kitty," 24 Nov. 2020 Leave all things for a while, leave all such pleasures that tickle your fancy at idle moments. Gary Saul Morson, The New York Review of Books, "An Incandescent Inanity," 3 Nov. 2020 One exterior detail may tickle the New Urbanists out there: the sidewalk on the North Second Street side of the project will be at the same level as the street bed, opening up pedestrian-friendly possibilities for the future. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Construction of Milwaukee Symphony's new home heads toward finish line," 29 Oct. 2020 That little kick from the vinegar is apparent at first bite and will tickle the tongue. Chuck Blount, ExpressNews.com, "Chuck’s Food Shack: Binding agents for meat like mayonnaise, mustard and olive oil make seasonings stick, retain moisture," 21 Sep. 2020 And their esports leagues keep fans’ attention going, constantly generating headlines that tickle memories of the game in players’ heads. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Esports Pros Have ‘Dream’ Jobs—but Game Publishers Have All the Power," 10 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But something just gave me a tickle that that wasn’t him. Annie Jacobsen, Wired, "Palantir’s God’s-Eye View of Afghanistan," 20 Jan. 2021 Contestants on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have been known to join the franchise with some pretty interesting job titles in tow, from Tiara the chicken enthusiast to Jonathan the tickle monster to Haley and Emily the twins. Andrea Park, Marie Claire, "Who Is Victoria Larson From Matt James' Season of 'The Bachelor'?," 11 Jan. 2021 Your main contentions are that one nostril that just won’t clear and the tickle in your throat that won’t let up. Sarah Vincelette, USA TODAY, "25 thoughtful get-well-soon gifts to send to loved ones," 9 Dec. 2020 Couple that with the unrelenting motivation — and pressure — to make sure conference games begin in December and end in March with a Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, and there is a tickle of hope for rivalries old and new. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Big East bracing for disruptions to basketball season; UConn returns ‘home’ at most complicated time," 29 Oct. 2020 That tickle in the throat, cough, runny nose or run-down feeling in late October typically means grabbing some over-the-counter cold and flu relief and powering through a day of work or errands. Suzanne Baker, chicagotribune.com, "Is it a cold, the flu or COVID-19? Get a flu shot and err on the side of caution, experts say.," 27 Oct. 2020 More research needs to be done to determine why one person infected with COVID-19 might not feel so much as a tickle in their throat, while others become severely ill. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, "What To Know About Asymptomatic COVID-19 Cases," 25 Oct. 2020 As the baby nurses, the mom feels a slight tickle in the back of her throat. Claire Friedman, The New Yorker, "New-Parent Riddles," 3 Oct. 2020 Surely this tickle in his throat wasn’t this terrifying virus. Star Tribune, "Lives, on the line," 2 Oct. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for tickle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tickle

Last Updated

3 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tickle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tickle. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for tickle

tickle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of tickle

: to try to make (someone) laugh by lightly touching a very sensitive part of the body with your fingers, a feather, etc.
: to have or cause a slightly uncomfortable feeling on a part of your body
: to please or amuse (someone or something)

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

Comments on tickle

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