tick·​lish | \ ˈti-k(ə-)lish How to pronounce ticklish (audio) \

Definition of ticklish

1 : sensitive to tickling
2 : requiring delicate handling a ticklish subject
3a : touchy, oversensitive ticklish about his baldness
b : easily overturned a canoe is a ticklish craft

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Other Words from ticklish

ticklishly adverb
ticklishness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ticklish



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Examples of ticklish in a Sentence

My feet are very ticklish. he's ticklish about his looks, so it's wisest to avoid the subject altogether
Recent Examples on the Web Harry’s plan puts Charles in a ticklish spot faced by many parents, albeit on a much smaller financial scale. Washington Post, "Royal rift: UK monarchy will look smaller when dust settles," 17 Jan. 2020 Anyone who has willed themselves to not feel a tickle as ticklish can appreciate the difference between stimulation and our perception of it. Austin Frakt, New York Times, "If ‘Pain Is an Opinion,’ There Are Ways to Change Your Mind," 2 Dec. 2019 The orchestra accomplished the most ticklish passages by trading off phrases within sections, spurred itself to a sprint for the finish line — and had enough energy for a Piazzolla encore. BostonGlobe.com, "Sphinx Virtuosi play in living color at Gardner Museum - The Boston Globe," 15 Oct. 2019 Some anglers also found to their chagrin that those multiple hooks stuck in hands and legs just as quickly as in bass—unhooking an A-rig fish was ticklish business. Frank Sargeant, al, "Digging deeper into the rise and fall of the Alabama Rig," 29 Sep. 2019 The subject has been ticklish for Harris, who as San Francisco district attorney declined to seek a death sentence for a man charged with killing a police officer, keeping a campaign promise while taking political heat. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Nearly all Democratic candidates oppose death penalty as public opinion shifts," 16 June 2019 With prominent ex-players seeming to rally around the candidacy of pitching coach Nate Yeskie, this is turning into a ticklish situation for athletic director Scott Barnes. oregonlive.com, "Would it be be best for the Beavers to go outside the program for a baseball coach? Diamonds & Dust," 6 June 2019 Mr Conte faces the ticklish task of trying to run a cabinet including the leaders of the two parties that will make up the new populist government: Luigi Di Maio of the radical Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini of the right-wing Northern League. The Economist, "Politics this week," 24 May 2018 Creighton and Northern Iowa were both in the Missouri Valley Conference at the time, so this presented a potentially ticklish situation in the McDermott household. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "5 things you might not know about Doug McDermott of the Pacers," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ticklish.' 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 ticklish

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

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Time Traveler for ticklish

Time Traveler

The first known use of ticklish was in 1581

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Statistics for ticklish

Cite this Entry

“Ticklish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ticklish. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for ticklish


How to pronounce ticklish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ticklish

: sensitive and easily tickled
: difficult to deal with : requiring special care


tick·​lish | \ ˈti-klish How to pronounce ticklish (audio) \

Kids Definition of ticklish

1 : sensitive to tickling
2 : calling for careful handling a ticklish situation

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More from Merriam-Webster on ticklish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ticklish

Spanish Central: Translation of ticklish

Nglish: Translation of ticklish for Spanish Speakers

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