[ tik-lish ]
/ ˈtɪk lɪʃ /


sensitive to tickling.
requiring careful or delicate handling or action; difficult or risky; dicey: a ticklish situation.
extremely sensitive; touchy: He is ticklish about being interrupted.
unstable or easily upset, as a boat; unsteady.

Nearby words

  1. tickled,
  2. tickled pink,
  3. tickler,
  4. tickler coil,
  5. tickler file,
  6. ticklishly,
  7. tickly,
  8. ticknor,
  9. ticknor, george,
  10. tickseed

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for ticklish

British Dictionary definitions for ticklish


/ (ˈtɪklɪʃ) /


susceptible and sensitive to being tickled
delicate or difficulta ticklish situation
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