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adjective, ick·i·er, ick·i·est. Informal.
  1. repulsive or distasteful.
  2. excessively sweet or sentimental.
  3. unsophisticated or old-fashioned.
  4. sticky; viscid.
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Origin of icky

An Americanism dating back to 1930–35; of uncertain origin
Related formsick·i·ness, noun


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1. revolting, nasty. 3. gummy, gooey, gucky.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

sickening, nasty, disgusting, horrible, loathsome, noisome, offensive, repellent, revolting, vile

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British Dictionary definitions for icky


adjective ickier or ickiest
  1. sticky
  2. excessively sentimental or emotional
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Derived Formsickiness, 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

Word Origin and History for icky


1935, American English, probably from icky-boo (c.1920) "sickly, nauseated," probably baby talk elaboration of sick. Originally a swing lover's term for more sentimental jazz music; in general use from 1938.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper