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or sick

[sik] /sɪk/
verb (used with object), sicced or sicked
[sikt] /sɪkt/ (Show IPA),
siccing or sicking.
to attack (used especially in commanding a dog):
Sic 'em!
to incite to attack (usually followed by on).
Origin of sic1
First recorded in 1835-45; variant of seek


[sik] /sɪk/
verb (used with object)
sic1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sicking
Historical Examples
  • And I seen he was sicking his intellects onto the job of making her pay.

    Danny's Own Story Don Marquis
  • They were very quiet but spent the time "sicking Mabel on," as Dee expressed it.

  • Upon the sicking river, nearly a hundred miles north from Boonesborough, there were valuable springs richly impregnated with salt.

    Daniel Boone John S. C. Abbott
  • Half an hour later, lonely Laura, discovering the girls on their doorstep, amused herself by sicking the dog at them.

    Dandelion Cottage Carroll Watson Rankin
  • His whole manner was that of a boy who, although making no sound, might be "sicking" one dog on another.

    At Whispering Pine Lodge Lawrence J. Leslie
  • We can let them see how much better they can make things by sicking them on to each other and having them discipline each other.

    The Ghost in the White House Gerald Stanley Lee
  • By "sicking" dog-loyal people against other nations crafty leaders can win elections, raise tariffs, and provoke wars.

    The Affable Stranger Peter McArthur
  • But the farmer whose property they had invaded thought he would help by "sicking" the dog on them.

British Dictionary definitions for sicking


inclined or likely to vomit
  1. suffering from ill health
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the): the sick
  1. of, relating to, or used by people who are unwell: sick benefits
  2. (in combination): sickroom
deeply affected with a mental or spiritual feeling akin to physical sickness: sick at heart
mentally, psychologically, or spiritually disturbed
(informal) delighting in or catering for the macabre or sadistic; morbid: sick humour
(often foll by of) (informal) Also sick and tired. disgusted or weary, esp because satiated: I am sick of his everlasting laughter
(often foll by for) weary with longing; pining: I am sick for my own country
pallid or sickly
not in working order
(of land) unfit for the adequate production of certain crops
(slang) look sick, to be outclassed
noun, verb
an informal word for vomit
See also sick-out
Derived Forms
sickish, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sēoc; related to Old Norse skjūkr, Gothic siuks, Old High German sioh


a variant spelling of sic2


so or thus: inserted in brackets in a written or printed text to indicate that an odd or questionable reading is what was actually written or printed
Word Origin


verb (transitive) sics, sicking, sicked
to turn on or attack: used only in commands, as to a dog
to urge (a dog) to attack
Word Origin
C19: dialect variant of seek


determiner, adverb
a Scot word for such
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
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Word Origin and History for sicking



insertion in printed quotation to call attention to error in the original; Latin, literally "so, thus, in this way," related to or emphatic of si "if," from PIE root *so- "this, that" (cf. Old English sio "she"). Used regularly in English articles from 1876, perhaps by influence of similar use in French (1872).

[I]t amounts to Yes, he did say that, or Yes, I do mean that, in spite of your natural doubts. It should be used only when doubt is natural; but reviewers & controversialists are tempted to pretend that it is, because (sic) provides them with a neat & compendious form of sneer. [Fowler]
Sic passim is "generally so throughout."



"to chase, set upon" (as in command sick him!), 1845, dialectal variant of seek. Used as an imperative to incite a dog to attack a person or animal; hence "cause to pursue." Related: Sicked; sicking.



"unwell," Old English seoc "ill, diseased, feeble, weak; corrupt; sad, troubled, deeply affected," from Proto-Germanic *seukaz, of uncertain origin. The general Germanic word (cf. Old Norse sjukr, Danish syg, Old Saxon siok, Old Frisian siak, Middle Dutch siec, Dutch ziek, Old High German sioh, Gothic siuks "sick, ill"), but in German and Dutch displaced by krank "weak, slim," probably originally with a sense of "twisted, bent" (see crank (n.)).

Restricted meaning "having an inclination to vomit, affected with nausea" is from 1610s; sense of "tired or weary (of something), disgusted from satiety" is from 1590s; phrase sick and tired of is attested from 1783. Meaning "mentally twisted" in modern colloquial use is from 1955, a revival of the word in this sense from 1550s (sense of "spiritually or morally corrupt" was in Old English, which also had seocmod "infirm of mind"); sick joke is from 1958.



"those who are sick," Old English seoce, from sick (adj).



"to set upon, attack;" see sick (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sicking in Medicine

sick (sĭk)
adj. sick·er, sick·est

  1. Suffering from or affected with a disease or disorder.

  2. Of or for sick persons.

  3. Nauseated.

  4. Mentally ill or disturbed.

  5. Constituting an unhealthy environment for those working or residing within, as of a building.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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sicking in Culture

sic definition

A Latin word for “thus,” used to indicate that an apparent error is part of quoted material and not an editorial mistake: “The learned geographer asserts that ‘the capital of the United States is Washingtown [sic].’”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for sicking



  1. (also sicko or sicksicksick) Mentally twisted; psychopathic, esp in a sadistic vein: a rapist or a sicko father who abuses his teenage daughters (1551+)
  2. Disgusted; surfeited; fed up: Sick to the gills of the Simpson trial? (1853+)
  3. (also sicko or sicksicksick) Gruesome; morbid; mentally and spiritually unhealthy: Label it S for Sicko/ He is even better at establishing a sicksicksick atmosphere (1955+)
  4. Needing a dose of narcotics (1940s+ Narcotics)


The craving and misery of an addict in need of a narcotic dose (1940s+ Narcotics)

[modern use of first sense from about 1955 is probably not a survival]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with sicking
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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