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 Now comes the Mobile Comedy Festival, created to unite the local funny folks and to tickle the town at large. Michael Dumas, al, "Mobile Comedy Fest debuts for those who live to laugh," 8 Aug. 2019 Others may become devotees, tickled by the thought of partying and/or holding business meetings in such an environment. John Wenzel, The Know, "Urban Putt transforms Denver’s Old Spaghetti Factory into surreal mini-golf playground (with a bar)," 13 Sep. 2019 But findings that rats laugh when tickled and can respond with empathy to another’s pain have started to shift that perspective. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Lab rats play hide-and-seek for the fun of it, new study shows," 12 Sep. 2019 Io, one of its 79 moons, tickles Jupiter’s atmosphere to create aurora. Anchorage Daily News, "‘Planet walk’ puts some things in perspective," 14 Sep. 2019 The addition that tickles him most is a riff on tradition. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Seek and ye shall find plenty of excuses to explore Seven Reasons," 11 Sep. 2019 In that case, head for Oga’s Cantina, where delights like the Fuzzy Tauntaun ($16) not only tickle the palate with citrus and peach flavors (the vodka and schnapps help) but tingle the lips – literally. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "At Galaxy’s Edge, food and drink are another layer in the Star Wars experience," 28 Aug. 2019 Sondheim’s lyrics can always be counted on for tickling cleverness, but performers sometimes gild the lily with silly mugging. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Into the Woods’ and stars align in magical night at the Hollywood Bowl," 28 July 2019 In the age of social media, the owners of most brands are tickled pink when images of their products go viral. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "The Wrong Sort of Viral Advertising," 8 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mole verde is faintly tart and tangy with tomatillos and onions; her pipián rojo is lovely and tomato-rich with a tickle of spice. Los Angeles Times, "Review: At la Diosa de los Moles, otherworldly cooking from L.A.’s mole goddess," 23 Oct. 2019 The stronger the tickle is, the larger the emoji looks. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Nobody Asked for Artificial Skin Phone Cases," 19 Oct. 2019 If your funny bone needs a weekend tickle, though, check out one of the shows at ComedySportz San Jose. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "No joke: San Jose Improv going dark for an interior makeover," 20 Aug. 2019 Try the Baldwin, an orange Fanta of a cocktail with this lovely little tickle of ginger. Washington Post, "Zeppelin is fun, but its sushi doesn’t quite fly," 1 Aug. 2019 Thank you for constantly showing our children love, adventures, and embracing them with endless cuddles and tickles. Kate Hogan, PEOPLE.com, "'Thank You for These Two Beautiful Coconuts!' The Absolute Sweetest Celeb Posts from Father's Day 2019," 17 June 2019 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

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

2 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Tickle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tickles. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for tickle

tickle

verb
How to pronounce tickle (audio)

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

Comments on tickle

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