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[tik] /tɪk/
  1. a sudden, spasmodic, painless, involuntary muscular contraction, as of the face.
  2. tic douloureux.
a persistent or recurrent behavioral trait; personal quirk:
her distinctive verbal tics.
Origin of tic
1790-1800; < French (of expressive orig.)
Can be confused
tic, tick.


a suffix, equivalent in meaning to -ic, occurring in adjectives of Greek origin (analytic), used especially in the formation of adjectives from nouns with stems in -sis: hematotic; neurotic.
< Greek -tikos, extracted from adjectives derived with -ikos -ic from agent nouns ending in -tēs; cf. hieratic Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for tic


noun (pathol)
spasmodic twitching of a particular group of muscles
Word Origin
C19: from French, of uncertain origin; compare Italian ticche
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 tic

twitching of a facial muscle, 1822, often a shortening of tic douloureux "severe facial neuralgia," literally "painful twitch" (1800), from French tic "a twitching disease of horses" (early 17c.), of unknown origin. Klein suggests an imitative origin; French etymologists compare it to Italian ticchio "whim, caprice."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tic in Medicine

tic (tĭk)
A habitual spasmodic muscular movement or contraction, usually of the face or extremities. Also called habit spasm.

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