[ pronounced as an alveolar click; spelling pronunciation tisk ]
/ pronounced as an alveolar click; spelling pronunciation tɪsk /
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(used, often in quick repetition, as an exclamation of contempt, disdain, impatience, etc.)
for shame!
an exclamation of “tsk.”
verb (used without object)
to utter the exclamation “tsk.”
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Also tsk·tsk [pronounced as two alveolar clicks; spelling pronunciation tisk-tisk] /pronounced as two alveolar clicks; spelling pronunciation ˈtɪskˈtɪsk/ .
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does tsk mean?

Tsk is an interjection used to express contempt or disdain, as in Tsk, tsk, that party was so exciting after all.

Tsk can also mean for shame, as in Tsk, I can’t believe you ate the whole pie!

As an interjection, tsk can be used as an isolated phrase separate from a sentence. It is often used repeatedly in quick succession, as in tsk tsk or tsk tsk tsk. 

Tsk can also refer to a usage of tsk, usually to reference people’s chides or negative remarks, as in Wanna’s tsks are often about how food looks on a plate.

To tsk means to say tsk, often to describe someone who is criticizing something or someone by using tsk.

Example: Lamonte’s teacher tsked him for coming to class late.

Where does tsk come from?

The first records of the term tsk to describe the sound come from around the 1940s. Tsk is an onomatopoeia for the sound that is usually made with an alveolar click or hiss. 

Tsk is closely related to the interjection tut, which is also used to express contempt or disdain and can mean “for shame.” Tsk and tut are often used interchangeably. Someone who is condescending can be described as tsking and tutting. Both tsk and tut are made by pushing air through the tongue and the alveolar ridge, the ridge at the top of the mouth which contains the tooth sockets.

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What are some other forms related to tsk?

  • tsk tsk (interjection)

What are some synonyms for tsk?

What are some words that often get used in discussing tsk?

How is tsk used in real life?

Tsk is almost always used to show disappointment or regret in someone or something.

Try using tsk!

True or False?

You might tsk someone when you’re happy with their actions.

How to use tsk in a sentence