tick 1 (tĭk)
1. A light, sharp, clicking sound made repeatedly by a machine, such as a clock.
2. Chiefly British A moment.
3. A light mark used to check off or call attention to an item.
4. Informal A unit on a scale; a degree: when interest rates move up a tick.
v. ticked, tick·ing, ticks
1. To emit recurring clicking sounds: as the clock ticked.
2. To function characteristically or well: machines ticking away; curious about what makes people tick.
1. To count or record with the sound of ticks: a clock ticking the hours; a taxi meter ticking the fare.
2. To mark or check off (a listed item) with a tick: ticked off each name on the list.
tick off Informal
To make angry or annoyed: Constant delays ticked me off.
[Middle English tik, light tap.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.