\ 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

Rue doesn’t feel like a person so much as a collection of storytelling tics in her voiceover narration. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "HBO’s Euphoria is two shows in one. One is bad. The other could be good.," 23 June 2019 Shonkwiler’s Nedjelko is a litany of tics, twitches and other peculiarities. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Theater review: Lots of reasons to experience ‘Archduke’," 13 June 2019 And talk about silver platter casting: Carvey already has Trump's verbal tics down. Delaney Strunk, CNN, "Now that Alec Baldwin's done, here's who could play Trump on 'SNL'," 9 June 2019 People had recently began to upload compilation videos of Billie's physical tics to the web. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Every Time Billie Eilish Got Real About Living With Tourette Syndrome," 25 Apr. 2019 Each episode features two people, one with autism, the other Tourette syndrome, a neurological condition marked by spontaneous physical and verbal outbursts called tics. Caryn M. Sullivan, Twin Cities, "Caryn M. Sullivan: For would-be employees and amenable employers, opportunity for a happy dance," 23 June 2019 Get some long twigs to fashion a tic-tac-toe board on the picnic table, and a tic-tac-toe contest should ensue. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Shelter donations," 8 June 2019 Most of all, my tics, while not gone completely, calmed down tremendously. Glamour, "Getting Diagnosed With ADHD At 25 Changed Everything," 30 Apr. 2019 Donald Trump, by a Manhattan mile, was better known than any presidential candidate in history—his personal life, his business life, his tics, his mannerisms. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "So Long, Russia. And Thanks!," 28 Aug. 2018

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

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tic

The first known use of tic was circa 1834

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on tic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tic

Spanish Central: Translation of tic

Nglish: Translation of tic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tic

Comments on tic

What made you want to look up tic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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