\ ˈtik How to pronounce tic (audio) \

Definition of tic

1 : local and habitual spasmodic motion of particular muscles especially of the face : twitching
2 : a frequent usually unconscious quirk of behavior or speech "you know" is a verbal tic

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Examples of tic in a Sentence

The verbal tic “you know” often occurs in her speech. constantly playing with her hair is one of her more annoying tics
Recent Examples on the Web Whether her vocal tic was a conscious creative decision or not, a rep for Aniston did not respond to The Times request for comment Wednesday. Los Angeles Times, "Ahem, TikTok! Real ‘Friends’ fans discovered Rachel’s viral ‘vocal tic’ long ago," 24 Feb. 2021 Half the users are avid Friends fans scared to finish the video and reveal the tic. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "You Won't Be Able to Stop Hearing Jennifer Aniston's Weird Vocal Habit on "Friends"," 23 Feb. 2021 One plain rhetorical tic in the world of race-reductionist scholarship is the casual referencing of black American experience across space and time in the first-person plural. Adolph Reed Jr., The New Republic, "The Retrograde Quest for Symbolic Prophets of Black Liberation," 17 Feb. 2021 It's become an involuntary tic to complain about staying home these days. Gear Team, Wired, "The 13 Best Weekend Deals on Laptops, Smartwatches, and More," 23 Jan. 2021 The rhetorical tic began in mid-September, when Trump held a rally in Freeland, Michigan. Ryan Teague Beckwith, Bloomberg.com, "Trump, Graham Keep Leads in South Carolina Poll: Campaign Update," 15 Oct. 2020 Obscenity is a tic that is always ready to ambush her thoughts. Anne Enright, The New York Review of Books, "Wanting Wrong," 6 July 2020 That’s because Thom has Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological condition characterized by verbal and motor tics. Jesse Green, New York Times, "When Disability Isn’t a Special Need but a Special Skill," 13 Jan. 2020 Blurting out inconvenient truths is more than a verbal tic. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Senate Republicans need to end this trial before Donald Trump confesses," 22 Jan. 2020

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

circa 1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tic


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Statistics for tic

Cite this Entry

“Tic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tic. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for tic



English Language Learners Definition of tic

: a small repeated movement of a muscle especially in the face that cannot be controlled
: a word or phrase that someone frequently says or an action that someone frequently does without intending to


\ ˈtik How to pronounce tic (audio) \

Medical Definition of tic

1 : local and habitual spasmodic motion of particular muscles especially of the face : twitching
2 : a habitual usually unconscious quirk of behavior or speech

More from Merriam-Webster on tic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tic

Nglish: Translation of tic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tic

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