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lickety-split

[lik-i-tee-split]
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adverb Informal.
  1. at great speed; rapidly: to travel lickety-split.

Origin of lickety-split

1835–45, Americanism; perhaps dial. licket rag (for wiping in haste, with one lick) + -y1 + split, as in split second
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lickety-split

Historical Examples

  • A man was coming down from the north, lickety-split on a roan with a rangy stride.

    Curly

    Roger Pocock

  • And away he goes at the head of the string, lickety-split for the beach.

  • And Beagle heard a noise he thought was a fox barking and he started for the tamarack swamp, lickety-split.

  • I never stopped to ast her nothin', fo' I seen yuh a kitin' down street, an' I put after yuh, lickety-split.

    A Sweet Little Maid

    Amy E. Blanchard

  • On he fled, across the crisp fields, leaped the fence and struck the road, lickety-split!


British Dictionary definitions for lickety-split

lickety-split

adverb
  1. US and Canadian informal very quickly; speedily

Word Origin

C19: from lick + split
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lickety-split

adj.

1852, American English (earlier lickety-cut, lickety-click, and simply licketie, 1817), from lick (n.1) in dialectal sense "very fast sprint in a race" (1809) on the notion of a "lick" as a fast thing (cf. blink).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper