[ rik-ee-tik, -tik ]
/ ˈrɪk iˈtɪk, -ˌtɪk /
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the mechanical, repetitive style and beat of ragtime or early swing music.
adjective Also rick·y-tick·y [rik-ee-tik-ee, -tik-ee]. /ˈrɪk iˈtɪk i, -ˌtɪk i/.
of or characteristic of such sound or beat.
corny or outmoded.
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Origin of ricky-tick

First recorded in 1935–40; apparently imitative

Words nearby ricky-tick

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does ricky-tick mean?

Ricky-tick means corny or outdated. It can be used to describe the kinds of things that seem a bit old-fashioned and silly because they come from another era.

The similar term rinky-dink can be used to mean the same thing, but it more commonly means inferior, amateurish, or small-time.

The term rinky-tink can also be used to mean the same thing as ricky-tick.

Both ricky-tick and rinky-tink can also be (and were originally) used to describe the mechanical, repetitive style and beat of ragtime or early swing music. Both terms can also be used as nouns to refer to such music.

Ricky-tick is also a military slang term meaning immediately or as quickly as possible. It’s often used in the phrase most ricky-tick, as in Drop what you’re doing most ricky-tick and get down here.

Example: His act is a bit ricky-tick, if you ask me, but I guess that’s what his audience wants to see.

Where does ricky-tick come from?

The first known records of the term ricky-tick come from the early 1930s. It is thought to be imitative of the kind of ragtime music it refers to, which is known for its strict two-four time, steady syncopation, and jangling piano sound. Ragtime was developed around 1900 and was especially popularized by Scott Joplin.

The similar term rinky-tink may be a blend of ricky-tick and rinky-dink.

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What are some synonyms for ricky-tick?

What are some words that often get used in discussing ricky-tick?

What are some words ricky-tick may be commonly confused with?

How is ricky-tick used in real life?

None of the senses of ricky-tick are commonly used.

Try using ricky-tick!

Is ricky-tick used correctly in the following sentence?

I love the ricky-tick sound of tinny old player pianos.

How to use ricky-tick in a sentence