See more synonyms for ticklish on Thesaurus.com
  1. sensitive to tickling.
  2. requiring careful or delicate handling or action; difficult or risky; dicey: a ticklish situation.
  3. extremely sensitive; touchy: He is ticklish about being interrupted.
  4. unstable or easily upset, as a boat; unsteady.

Origin of ticklish

First recorded in 1575–85; tickle + -ish1
Related formstick·lish·ly, adverbtick·lish·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ticklish

Historical Examples of ticklish

British Dictionary definitions for ticklish


  1. susceptible and sensitive to being tickled
  2. delicate or difficulta ticklish situation
  3. easily upset or offended
Derived Formsticklishly, adverbticklishness, noun
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 ticklish

"easily tickled," 1590s, from tickle + -ish. Literal sense is attested later than the figurative sense (1580s); an earlier word for this was tickly (1520s). Related: Ticklishly; ticklishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper