tickle

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

Instead, on Saturday Beecher will celebrate his 25th anniversary at the upscale French restaurant, having tickled the ivories in its piano bar for nearly 4,000 nights over the years. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Piano man marks 25th year at North County restaurant," 18 May 2018 Not just any run-of-the-mill, tickle-in-the-throat cough, bronchitis is a respiratory condition in which the lining of your bronchial tubes become inflamed, the Mayo Clinic explains. Amy Marturana, SELF, "8 Bronchitis Symptoms Everyone Should Know," 28 Dec. 2018 Ghostfish Brewing Company Shrouded Summit Belgian White, 4.8% ABV Spicy millet and smooth buckwheat combine to produce this fluffy, tart brew with a hint of tickling lime zest. William Bostwick, WSJ, "Why Settle for the Beer Equivalent of Wonder Bread?," 7 Sep. 2018 Both Luna and Lulu make up to 50 different sounds when kids pet, cuddle, and tickle them. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "Why Pomsies Luna and Pomsies Lulu Are the Most Exciting Pom Pom Toys Yet," 14 Nov. 2018 Something about this tickled me, a high school loner with a superiority complex. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Internet Relay Chat turns 30—and we remember how it changed our lives," 13 Oct. 2018 Of all the things Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler had learned upon relocating to Nashville a few years back to make the first solo album of his estimable career, the one that clearly tickled him the most involved a particular stretch of freeway. Randy Lewis, latimes.com, "Aerosmith's Steven Tyler goes 'Out on a Limb' in new documentary on his solo album debut," 23 May 2018 Cline recommended that the therapist start stimulating the child by talking to or even tickling them. Longreads, "Born Again," 1 May 2018 In the news reports, Ms. Vester described Mr. Brokaw tickling her in a conference room, asking her to drinks and, on two occasions in New York and London, inviting himself to her hotel room. Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times, "Tom Brokaw, in Email, Angrily Denies Harassment Claim," 27 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The music’s own, natural flourishes start to come through and just tickle (instead of bludgeoning) my pleasure receptors. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Audio-Technica R70x review: the definition of neutral headphones," 6 July 2018 King of the hill After Saturday’s brouhaha with the Reds, sparked by Amir Garrett’s reaction to striking out Baez, the Cubs lead the majors in bullpen-clearing incidents that have resulted in nothing worse than a tickle. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Time for the Manny Machado watch to go into overdrive in Chicago," 20 May 2018 Aunt Lucy has a deep love for her friends and family, a great sense of humor, and a laugh that feels like a tickle. Sally Kohn, Time, "I Was a Liberal Who Worked at Fox News. Here's What That Taught Me About Arguing Politics," 10 Apr. 2018 Coughing can be maddening, from that first tickle in your throat to dealing with the stuff that might come up with each heave. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s When to See a Doctor About That Persistent Cough," 7 Apr. 2018 The blend of fresh herbs and the fish sauce spiked with tamarind tickles every region of the tongue. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "The Temple Club: Vietnamese food you can’t get anywhere else," 2 Feb. 2018 Now the boys crawl-chase each other around the house and make tickle-piles in the morning. Anndee Hochman, Philly.com, "The Parent Trip: Kristen Shahverdian and Lisa Gochee of Point Breeze," 9 Jan. 2018 From there, the show picked up in intensity as the hard hitting bass reached the point of a full-body tickle from the vibrations. Lyndsey Havens, Billboard, "Mura Masa Dazzles, Brings Out Desiigner at New York Show," 13 Oct. 2017 The Albanian section of the menu is brief and distinctly carnal, including smaller but still rugged qofte the size of pincushions, fat tubes of veal sausage (qebapa) and skinny links of beef (suxhuk) with a tickle of paprika. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "From a Pizza Oven in the Bronx, Albanian Specialties," 14 Sep. 2017

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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Statistics for tickle

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tickle

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

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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 tickling (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

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More from Merriam-Webster on tickle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tickle

Spanish Central: Translation of tickle

Nglish: Translation of tickle for Spanish Speakers

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