\ 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

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 Over the course of a week, the nervous tic of checking my phone for messages, headlines, or Facebook arguments, dissolved into nothing. Lauren Mowery, Forbes, 5 July 2022 It’s a tic developed after years as director of the clinic. Hanna Krueger, BostonGlobe.com, 14 June 2022 Even for those who don’t have aphasia or Tourette’s, swearing can become a habit, something like an uncontrolled verbal tic. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 9 June 2022 Throughout the novel, Zhang adopts a stylistic tic of avoiding contractions. New York Times, 3 Apr. 2022 Studies found that while coprolalia—a symptom which causes excessive use of foul language—is present in about 10% of people with Tourette’s syndrome, the tic was overwhelmingly present in TikTok videos associated with the neurological disorder. Amiah Taylor, Fortune, 31 Mar. 2022 Each of these observers was given a tic, motif, or symbolic compulsion to distinguish and vivify his or her narration. Mark Greif, The Atlantic, 15 Mar. 2022 The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has likewise been using them in this way, though, as of late, the museum’s QR code use has gone from techno-additive to grating digital tic. Los Angeles Times, 22 Jan. 2022 In Marks’s account, Maier is a mentally ill woman who took photos almost as a therapeutic tic rather than a full-fledged artist with (perhaps) a mental illness. Jeremy Lybarger, The New Republic, 21 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of tic

circa 1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tic


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Last Updated

19 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tic. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for tic


\ 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

Nglish: Translation of tic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tic


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