[ lik-ing ]
/ ˈlɪk ɪŋ /


  1. a beating or thrashing.
  2. a reversal or disappointment; defeat or setback.
the act of a person or thing that licks.

Nearby words

  1. lick-alike,
  2. licker-in,
  3. lickerish,
  4. lickerishly,
  5. lickety-split,
  6. licking river,
  7. lickspittle,
  8. licorice,
  9. licorice stick,
  10. lictor

Origin of licking

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at lick, -ing1

Related formsnon·lick·ing, adjective

Origin of lick

before 1000; Middle English; Old English liccian, cognate with Old Saxon liccōn, Old High German leckōn; akin to Go bilaigon, Latin lingere, Greek leíchein to lick (up)

Related formslick·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for licking

British Dictionary definitions for licking


/ (ˈlɪkɪŋ) /

noun informal

a beating
a defeat


/ (lɪk) /



Derived Formslicker, noun

Word Origin for lick

Old English liccian; related to Old High German leckon, Latin lingere, Greek leikhein

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 licking
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper