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


huffy, tetchy, thin-skinned, touchy



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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

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 That is a more ticklish argument: the obstruction laws are complicated and the ambit of presidential power vast. The Economist, "Donald Trump’s powers are not quite as vast as his lawyers claim," 7 June 2018 Is this because the queen is extremely ticklish and prone to hysterical giggling fits? Jessica Pan, The Cut, "The 10 Most Bizarre Royal Etiquette Rules," 17 May 2018 Talking candidly about how to collect the revenues that fund government is more ticklish, especially when the pain is likely to be broadly shared. The Economist, "American states face a revenue crisis," 7 Apr. 2018 Truth is, the one area that's often ignored is the roof of his mouth, which is one of the most ticklish parts of the body, says Hess. Judy Dutton, Redbook, "20 Things You Can Do With Your Mouth That Will Drive a Man Crazy," 20 Jan. 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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Statistics for ticklish

Last Updated

2 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ticklish

The first known use of ticklish was in 1581

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More Definitions for ticklish



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

Comments on ticklish

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of or relating to the heavens

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