to pass the tongue over the surface of, as to moisten, taste, or eat (often followed by up, off, from, etc.): to lick a postage stamp; to lick an ice-cream cone.
to make, or cause to become, by stroking with the tongue: to lick a spoon clean.
(of waves, flames, etc.) to pass or play lightly over: The flame licked the dry timber.
to hit or beat, especially as a punishment; thrash; whip.
to overcome or defeat, as in a fight, game, or contest.
to outdo or surpass.
to move quickly or lightly.
a stroke of the tongue over something.
as much as can be taken up by one stroke of the tongue.
a brief, brisk burst of activity or energy.
a quick pace or clip; speed.
a small amount: I haven't done a lick of work all week.
Usually licks. a critical or complaining remark.
Usually licks. Jazz Slang. a musical phrase, as by a soloist in improvising.
lick up, to lap up; devour greedily.
Idioms about lick
last licks, a final turn or opportunity: We got in our last licks on the tennis court before the vacation ended.
lick and a promise, a hasty and perfunctory performance in doing something: I didn't have time to clean thoroughly, so I gave the room a lick and a promise.
lick ass, Slang: Vulgar. kiss (def. 18).
lick into shape, Informal. to bring to completion or perfection through discipline, hard work, etc.: They needed another rehearsal to lick the production into shape.
lick one's chops. chop3 (def. 7).
lick one's wounds. wound1 (def. 6).
lick the dust. dust (def. 24).
- licker, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use lick in a sentence
Grizzlies lick them up by the thousands, and the media has made a big deal out of Yellowstone bears eating these bugs.
I remember practicing that lick [from the solo “Round Midnight” recording] years ago, learning how to do that cascade effect.
Another intriguing fact about the original is that Sam Levene, who played Nathan, couldn't sing a lick and said so.New York’s Greatest Show Or How They Did Not Screw Up ‘Guys and Dolls’ | Ross Wetzsteon | April 6, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Elsewhere in the song, Kelly compares himself to the cookie monster and cleverly sings “I love to lick the middle like an Oreo.”R. Kelly’s Craziest Lyrics From ‘Black Panties,’ Analyzed | Chancellor Agard | December 3, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
“I can still see the lick Marshall put on Ferguson,” said Ditka.
Well, thinks I, this is no joke sure, at this lick I'll have family enuff to do me in a few years.The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun; | Various
Why, Dan Daly and half a dozen of our fellows would lick the whole crowd.Young Glory and the Spanish Cruiser | Walter Fenton Mott
Then they came back to where their friend lay on the ground, and began to talk with him and lick his face.Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children | Mabel Powers
He stooped and stroked the little animal, who stood on ridiculous hind-legs, straining to lick his hand.The Creators | May Sinclair
He wudden't know whether I swept or dusted rightly, or whether I gave the place a lick and a promise.In the Onyx Lobby | Carolyn Wells
British Dictionary definitions for lick
(tr) to pass the tongue over, esp in order to taste or consume
to flicker or move lightly over or round (something): the flames licked around the door
to defeat or vanquish
to flog or thrash
to be or do much better than
lick into shape to put into a satisfactory condition: from the former belief that bear cubs were born formless and had to be licked into shape by their mother
lick one's lips to anticipate or recall something with glee or relish
lick one's wounds to retire after a defeat or setback in order to husband one's resources
lick the boots of See boot 1 (def. 14)
an instance of passing the tongue over something
a small amount: a lick of paint
Also called: salt lick a block of compressed salt or chemical matter provided for domestic animals to lick for medicinal and nutritional purposes
a place to which animals go to lick exposed natural deposits of salt
informal a hit; blow
slang a short musical phrase, usually on one instrument
informal speed; rate of movement: he was going at quite a lick when he hit it
a lick and a promise something hastily done, esp a hurried wash
- licker, noun
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