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[tik-it] /ˈtɪk ɪt/
a slip, usually of paper or cardboard, serving as evidence that the holder has paid a fare or admission or is entitled to some service, right, or the like:
a railroad ticket; a theater ticket.
a summons issued for a traffic or parking violation.
a written or printed slip of paper, cardboard, etc., affixed to something to indicate its nature, price, or the like; label or tag.
a slate of candidates nominated by a particular party or faction and running together in an election.
the license of a ship's officer or of an aviation pilot.
Banking. a preliminary recording of transactions prior to their entry in more permanent books of account.
Informal. the proper or advisable thing:
That's the ticket! Warm milk and toast is just the ticket for you.
Archaic. a placard.
Obsolete. a short note, notice, or memorandum.
verb (used with object)
to attach a ticket to; distinguish by means of a ticket; label.
to furnish with a ticket, as on the railroad.
to serve with a summons for a traffic or parking violation.
to attach such a summons to:
to ticket illegally parked cars.
have tickets on oneself, Australian Slang. to be conceited.
Origin of ticket
1520-30; 1925-30 for def 4; earlier tiket < Middle French etiquet memorandum. See etiquette
Related forms
ticketless, adjective
reticket, verb (used with object)
unticketed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ticket
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Handing her five francs to the ticket seller she asked for a ticket to Picquigny.

    Nobody's Girl Hector Malot
  • The ticket speculators were yelling their wares on the sidewalk.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • I cant see anything but defeat and a second place on the ticket.

    For the Honor of the School Ralph Henry Barbour
  • He bought a ticket and entered, wondering if he would find the house empty.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • The first list is of articles which require no ticket at any price.

    Germany in War Time Mary Ethel McAuley
British Dictionary definitions for ticket


  1. a piece of paper, cardboard, etc, showing that the holder is entitled to certain rights, such as travel on a train or bus, entry to a place of public entertainment, etc
  2. (modifier) concerned with or relating to the issue, sale, or checking of tickets: a ticket office, ticket collector
a piece of card, cloth, etc, attached to an article showing information such as its price, size, or washing instructions
a summons served for a parking offence or violation of traffic regulations
(informal) the certificate of competence issued to a ship's captain or an aircraft pilot
(mainly US & NZ) the group of candidates nominated by one party in an election; slate
(mainly US) the declared policy of a political party at an election
(Brit, informal) a certificate of discharge from the armed forces
(informal) the right or appropriate thing: that's the ticket
(Austral, informal) have tickets on oneself, have got tickets on oneself, to be conceited
verb (transitive) -ets, -eting, -eted
to issue or attach a ticket or tickets to
(informal) to earmark for a particular purpose
See also tickets
Derived Forms
ticketing, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Old French etiquet, from estiquier to stick on, from Middle Dutch steken to stick²
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 ticket

1520s, "short note or document," from a shortened form of Middle French etiquet "label, note," from Old French estiquette "a little note" (late 14c.), especially one affixed to a gate or wall as a public notice, from estiquer "to affix, stick on, attach," from Frankish *stikkan, cognate with Old English stician "to pierce" (see stick (v.)).

Meaning "card or piece of paper that gives its holder a right or privilege" is first recorded 1670s, probably developing from the sense of "certificate, license, permit." The political sense of "list of candidates put forward by a faction" has been used in American English since 1711. Meaning "official notification of offense" is from 1930; parking ticket first attested 1947. Big ticket item is from 1970. Slang the ticket "just the thing, what is expected" is recorded from 1838, perhaps with notion of a winning lottery ticket.


1610s, from ticket (n.). Related: Ticketed; ticketing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for ticket



An official license or certificate, esp one for a ship's officer, a radio operator, etc (late 1800s+)

Related Terms

big ticket, have one's ticket punched, meal ticket, walking papers

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 ticket
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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