tick (n.1)

parasitic blood-sucking arachnid animal, Old English ticia, from West Germanic *tik- (source also of Middle Dutch teke, Dutch teek, Old High German zecho, German Zecke "tick"), of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE *deigh- "insect." French tique (mid-15c.), Italian zecca are Germanic loan-words.

tick (n.2)

mid-15c., "light touch or tap," probably from tick (v.) and cognate with Dutch tik, Middle High German zic, and perhaps echoic. Meaning "sound made by a clock" is probably first recorded 1540s; tick-tock as the sound of a clock is recorded from 1845.

tick (n.3)

"credit," 1640s, shortening of ticket (n.).

tick (v.)

early 13c., "to touch or pat," perhaps from an Old English verb corresponding to tick (n.2), and perhaps ultimately echoic. Compare Old High German zeckon "to pluck," Dutch tikken "to pat," Norwegian tikke "touch lightly." Meaning "make a ticking sound" is from 1721. Related: Ticked; ticking.

To tick (someone) off is from 1915, originally "to reprimand, scold." The verbal phrase tick off was in use in several senses at the time: as what a telegraph instrument does when it types out a message (1873), as what a clock does in marking the passage of time (1777), to enumerate on one's fingers (1899), and in accountancy, etc., "make a mark beside an item on a sheet with a pencil, etc.," often indicating a sale (by 1881, from tick (n.2) in sense "small mark or dot"). This last might be the direct source of the phrase, perhaps via World War I military bureaucratic sense of being marked off from a list as "dismissed" or "ineligible." Meaning "to annoy" is recorded by 1971.

updated on February 09, 2014

Definitions of tick from WordNet
tick (v.)
make a clicking or ticking sound;
The clock ticked away
Synonyms: click
tick (v.)
make a sound like a clock or a timer;
the clocks were ticking
Synonyms: ticktock / ticktack / beat
tick (v.)
tick a mattress
Synonyms: retick
tick (v.)
put a check mark on or near or next to;
tick off the items
Synonyms: check / check off / mark / mark off / tick off
tick (n.)
a metallic tapping sound;
he counted the ticks of the clock
Synonyms: ticking
tick (n.)
any of two families of small parasitic arachnids with barbed proboscis; feed on blood of warm-blooded animals;
tick (n.)
a mark indicating that something has been noted or completed etc.;
Synonyms: check mark / check
tick (n.)
a light mattress;
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