Etymology
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licking (n.)

"an act of licking or lapping," late 14c., verbal noun from lick (v.1); meaning "a beating" (1756) is from lick (v.2).

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Definitions of licking

licking (n.)
an unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest;
they suffered a convincing licking
Synonyms: defeat
licking (n.)
the act of inflicting corporal punishment with repeated blows;
Synonyms: beating / thrashing / drubbing / lacing / trouncing / whacking
From wordnet.princeton.edu