[ tik-uhl ]
/ ˈtɪk əl /

verb (used with object), tick·led, tick·ling.

verb (used without object), tick·led, tick·ling.

to be affected with a tingling or itching sensation, as from light touches or strokes: I tickle all over.
to produce such a sensation.


an act or instance of tickling.
a tickling sensation.

Nearby words

  1. tickets,
  2. tickety-boo,
  3. tickey,
  4. ticking,
  5. ticklace,
  6. tickle one's fancy,
  7. tickle the ivories,
  8. tickled,
  9. tickled pink,
  10. tickler


    tickled pink, Informal. greatly pleased: She was tickled pink that someone had remembered her birthday.

Origin of tickle

1300–50; Middle English tikelen, frequentative of tick1 (in obsolete sense) to touch lightly

Related formsun·tick·led, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tickle

British Dictionary definitions for tickle


/ (ˈtɪkəl) /



Derived Formstickly, adjective

Word Origin for tickle

C14: related to Old English tinclian, Old High German kizziton, Old Norse kitla, Latin titillāre to titillate

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 tickle



early 14c. (intransitive) "to be thrilled or tingling," of uncertain origin, possibly a frequentative form of tick (2) in its older sense of "to touch." The Old English form was tinclian. Some suggest a metathesis of kittle (Middle English kytyllen), from Dutch kietelen, from a common North Sea Germanic word for "to tickle" (cf. Old Norse kitla, Old High German kizzilon, German kitzeln).

Meaning "to excite agreeably" (late 14c.) is a translation of Latin titillare. Meaning "to touch lightly so as to cause a peculiar and uneasy sensation" is recorded from late 14c.; that of "to poke or touch so as to excite laughter" is from early 15c.; figurative sense of "to excite, amuse" is attested from 1680s. Related: Tickled; tickling. The noun is recorded from 1801.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper