verb (used with object)
- 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.
verb (used without object)
- a blow.
- 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.
- lichtenstein, roy,
- lick and a promise, a,
- lick into shape,
- lick observatory,
- lick one's chops,
- lick one's wounds
Origin of lick
Examples from the Web for lick
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|DAILY BEAST
“I can still see the lick Marshall put on Ferguson,” said Ditka.
Both peoples need time to lick their wounds, get to know each other as something other than Evil, and build (yes) confidence.
I relaxed, feeling that the trustees might want to retire from the battlefield to lick their wounds and reconsider their policy.James Joyce’s Grandson Stephen and Literature’s Most Tyrannical Estate|Gordon Bowker|June 14, 2012|DAILY BEAST
A rat will push down his tail into the tall-shaped bottle of preserves, and lick it after he has pulled it out.
I believe we'll lick these fellows or come mighty close to it.The Guarded Heights|Wadsworth Camp
That sort of I-told-you-so look that makes you wish you were big enough to lick him.The Rushton Boys at Rally Hall|Spencer Davenport
When I used to lick you at school, who ever would have thought that I was thrashing a sucking statesman?The History of Samuel Titmarsh|William Makepeace Thackeray
I hain't got a critter that won't come up by its name an' lick my hand.Glimpses of Three Coasts|Helen Hunt Jackson
- to defeat or vanquish
- to flog or thrash
- to be or do much better than
Word Origin for lick
Old English liccian "to pass the tongue over the surface, lap, lick up," from Proto-Germanic *likkon (cf. Old Saxon likkon, Dutch likken, Old High German lecchon, German lecken, Gothic bi-laigon), from PIE imitative base *leigh- (cf. Sanskrit ledhi "he licks," Armenian lizum "I lick," Greek leikhein "to lick," Latin lingere "to lick," Old Irish ligim "I lick," Welsh llwy "spoon"). French lécher is a Germanic loan word.
To lick (someone or something) into shape (1610s) is in reference to the supposed ways of bears:
Beres ben brought forthe al fowle and transformyd and after that by lyckyng of the fader and the moder they ben brought in to theyr kyndely shap. ["The Pylgremage of the Sowle," 1413]
"an act of licking," c.1600, from lick (v.1). Meaning "small portion" is 1814, originally Scottish; hence U.S. colloquial sense. Sense of "place where an animal goes to lick salt" is from 1747. The jazz music sense of "short figure or solo" is by 1922.
"to beat," 1535, perhaps from figurative use of lick (v.1) in the Coverdale bible that year in sense of "defeat, annihilate" (an enemy's forces) in Num. xxii:4:
Now shal this heape licke up all that is about vs, euen as an oxe licketh vp the grasse in the field.
But to lick (of) the whip "taste punishment" is attested from mid-15c.