or tick-tack-too tic-tac-toe, tit-tat-toe



a simple game in which one player marks down only X's and another only O's, each alternating in filling in any of the nine compartments of a figure formed by two vertical lines crossed by two horizontal lines, the winner being the first to fill in three marks in any horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row.
a children's game consisting of trying, with the eyes shut, to bring a pencil down upon one of a set of circled numbers, as on a slate, the number touched being counted as a score.

Origin of tick-tack-toe

1865–70; imitative of sound, as of bringing a pencil down on slate; see ticktack
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of tic-tac-toe

British Dictionary definitions for tic-tac-toe


tick-tack-too (ˌtɪktækˈtuː)


US and Canadian a game in which two players, one using a nought, "O", the other a cross, "X", alternately mark one square out of nine formed by two pairs of crossed lines, the winner being the first to get three of his symbols in a rowAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): noughts and crosses

Word Origin for tick-tack-toe

C19: from ticktack (meaning: an obsolete variety of backgammon)
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 tic-tac-toe



1884, probably an extension of tick-tack (1580s), a form of backgammon, possibly from Middle French trictrac, perhaps imitative of the sound of tiles on the board.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper