Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To pass the tongue over or along.
  • intransitive verb To lap up.
  • intransitive verb To lap or flicker at like a tongue.
  • intransitive verb To beat or thrash.
  • intransitive verb To defeat soundly.
  • intransitive verb To deal with effectively; overcome.
  • intransitive verb To pass or lap quickly and rapidly.
  • noun The act or process of licking.
  • noun An amount obtained by licking.
  • noun A small quantity; a bit.
  • noun A deposit of exposed natural salt that is licked by passing animals.
  • noun Slang A sudden hard stroke; a blow.
  • noun Slang An attempt; a try.
  • noun Informal Speed; pace.
  • noun Music A phrase improvised by a soloist, especially on the guitar or banjo.
  • idiom (lick and a promise) A superficial effort made without care or enthusiasm.
  • idiom (lick into shape) To bring into satisfactory condition or appearance.
  • idiom (lick (one's) chops) To anticipate delightedly.
  • idiom (lick (one's) wounds) To recuperate after a defeat.
  • idiom (lick (someone's) boots) To behave in a servile or obsequious manner toward someone.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To tear along; ride at full gallop.
  • noun An aberration of the appetite, with a morbid desire to eat foreign substances having no food value, which attacks nearly all the domestic animals. In the ox it is called pica, in the sheep wool-eating, etc.
  • noun A rubbing or drawing of the tongue over something.
  • noun A slight smear or coat, as of paint.
  • noun A small quantity; as much as can be taken up by the tongue: as, a lick of sugar or of oatmeal.
  • noun A place where salt is deposited at salt-springs, and where animals come, or might come, to lick it.
  • noun A blow; a stroke; hence, a trial or essay.
  • noun plural A beating.
  • To pass or draw the tongue over the surface of; rub with the tongue.
  • To take into the mouth by lapping with the tongue; lap.
  • To strike repeatedly by way of punishment; flog; chastise with blows; beat.
  • Hence To “beat” or overcome; gain a victory over; surpass; excel.
  • In mech.: To catch and retain (fiber), as the rollers of drawing-frames in a damp atmosphere.
  • To lap or scoop up; wipe off or transfer by intermittent contact, as in the device for lubrication called a licker.
  • To take up gradually and feed (fiber) into a carding-machine: said of the action of the card called the licker-in.
  • To prostrate one's self on the ground in token of utter submission; act abjectly and servilely.
  • To gain the victory; be victorious: as, who licked?

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb Colloq. or Low To strike with repeated blows for punishment; to flog; to whip or conquer, as in a pugilistic encounter.
  • noun A stroke of the tongue in licking.
  • noun colloq. A quick and careless application of anything, as if by a stroke of the tongue, or of something which acts like a tongue. Also, a small quantity of any substance so applied.
  • noun United States A place where salt is found on the surface of the earth, to which wild animals resort to lick it up; -- often, but not always, near salt springs. Called also salt lick.
  • noun colloq. A slap; a quick stroke.
  • transitive verb To draw or pass the tongue over.
  • transitive verb To lap; to take in with the tongue.
  • transitive verb to be slain; to fall in battle.
  • transitive verb to give proper form to; -- from a notion that the bear's cubs are born shapeless and subsequently formed by licking.
  • transitive verb to fawn upon.
  • transitive verb to take all of by licking; to devour; to consume entirely.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To stroke with the tongue.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English licken, from Old English liccian; see leigh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English liccian, from Proto-Germanic *likkōnan (compare East Frisian likje, Dutch likken, German lecken), from Proto-Indo-European *leiǵʰ- (compare Old Irish ligid, Latin lingō ("lick"), ligguriō ("to lap, lick up"), Lithuanian laižyti, Old Church Slavonic лизати (lizati), Ancient Greek λείχω (leíkhō), Old Armenian լիզեմ (lizem), Persian لیسیدن (lisidan), Sanskrit लेढि (léḍhi), रेढि (réḍhi)).

Examples

  • And lick is what Princess Pup likes to do to Minnow.

    Archive 2007-09-01

  • And lick is what Princess Pup likes to do to Minnow.

    Mommy Monday: the Pup and the Babe

  • "To glory!" cried Murray, waving his sword; "O! not while a Scot survives, shall that blood-red lion * again lick the dust!"

    The Scottish Chiefs

  • He actually stole something out of the recycling bin the other day to lick, which is a first.

    then one day i was not alone

  • Turnerisn't Colombian, doesn'thave any connections to Colombia, and doesn't speak a lick of Spanish.

    El Chanclaso: El Chanclaso: The First of 2012 Goes to ICE

  • So far everyone had been as friendly as could be and that never changed throughout the trip, with one possible exception - on the train that night there was a super-jolly trashed guy who just started talking to us in Swedish and wouldn't stop, even after it became clear we couldn't speak a lick of it.

    Stockholm

  • Poured by a pretty, friendly angel who didn't speak a lick of English but knew enough to have a cold one in front of me seconds before I finished the last sip of my previous indulgence.

    It's a small world and all that

  • UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mom came over on the boat from Italy, didn't speak a lick of English, as an adult.

    CNN Transcript Oct 24, 2009

  • The workers doing the work in the background, don't speak a lick of English & thus in many of these stores it's almost impossible to communicate with the other workers.

    Edwards Campaign Accuses Hillary Of Laughing At Loss Of American Jobs ��� Did She?

  • So far everyone had been as friendly as could be and that never changed throughout the trip, with one possible exception - on the train that night there was a super-jolly trashed guy who just started talking to us in Swedish and wouldn't stop, even after it became clear we couldn't speak a lick of it.

    Archive 2009-08-01

Comments

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  • Contronymic in the sense: like (as ice cream) vs. dislike (beat up).

    January 27, 2007