tickle

verb
tick·​le | \ˈti-kəl \
tickled; tickling\ˈti-​k(ə-​)liŋ \

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

This suggested that to work, linalool tickled odor-sensitive neurons in the nose that send signals to just the right spots in the brain — the same ones triggered by Valium. Joanna Klein, The Seattle Times, "Lavender’s soothing scent could be more than just folk medicine," 26 Oct. 2018 He is also said to have tickled the keys of the home's grand piano. Lindsey Desimone, ELLE Decor, "Vacation Like Frank Sinatra At This Palatial Beach House," 6 Oct. 2015 Meghan Markle has had her share of laughs during her first royal tour, but no moment has tickled her quite as much as a performance from a boys' choir in Tonga. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Meghan Markle Laughed So Hard She Cried During a Choir Performance Today," 26 Oct. 2018 But even with this in mind, Finkel was tickled by the general idea, and doesn’t believe dealbreakers will ultimately upend Hater from expanding, citing that all platforms for online dating face the same challenge. Shana Gohd, Harper's BAZAAR, "Your Biggest Dislikes Could Be the Secret to Finding Love," 12 June 2017 Those who know the character are tickled; others are shocked. Rick Maese, chicagotribune.com, "PFT Commenter rose from an internet 'cesspool' to podcasting glory. And no one knows who he is.," 21 May 2018 What the females do is go up to the male and use their legs on one side of their body to tickle him. James Gorman, New York Times, "For Fiddler Crabs, ‘Size Does Matter’," 26 Feb. 2018 But the play’s paradoxical power to elicit the feelings of being both sucker punched and tickled remains undiminished, perhaps especially for American theatergoers. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London," 4 July 2018 For some, musical notes conjure flashes of color, letters and numbers have their own particular hues, and certain sounds tickle. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "There are people who hear color—and they may have hyper-connected brains," 7 Mar. 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

30 Nov 2018

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 \
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 \
tickled; tickling\-​(ə-​)liŋ \

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

Comments on tickle

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