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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
lick /lɪk/USA pronunciation   v. 
  1. Physiologyto pass the tongue over the surface of, as to moisten, taste, or eat: [+ object]to lick a postage stamp.[no object]The cat was licking at its fur.
  2. to cause to become by stroking with the tongue[+ object]to lick a spoon clean.
  3. (of waves, flames, etc.) to pass or play lightly over: [+ object]The waves licked the shore.[no object]The flames licked at the roof.
  4. [+ object][Informal.]
      • to hit or beat, esp. as a punishment; thrash.
      • to defeat:We licked their team fair and square.
  5. lick up, to lap up: [+ up + object]The cat licked up her milk.[+ object + up]She licked it up.

n. [countable]
  1. a stroke of the tongue over something:a quick lick of the tongue.
  2. [Informal.]
      • a blow:a few licks with a cane.
      • a brief, brisk burst of activity or energy.
      • a small amount:haven't done a lick of work.
  3. Music and DanceUsually,licks. [plural] a musical phrase, as by a jazz soloist in improvising.
  1. Idiomslast licks, a final turn or opportunity.
  2. Idiomslick and a promise, a quick and usually sloppy or not careful performance of a chore.
  3. lick one's lips, to move the tongue over one's lips in greedy anticipation.
  4. Idiomslick one's wounds, to attempt to heal or comfort oneself after injury or defeat.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
lick  (lik), 
  • Physiologyto pass the tongue over the surface of, as to moisten, taste, or eat (often fol. by up, off, from, etc.): to lick a postage stamp;
    to lick an ice-cream cone.
  • to make, or cause to become, by stroking with the tongue: to lick a spoon clean.
  • (of waves, flames, etc.) to pass or play lightly over:The flame licked the dry timber.
  • Informal.
      • to hit or beat, esp. as a punishment; thrash;
      • to overcome or defeat, as in a fight, game, or contest.
      • to outdo or surpass.

    1. to move quickly or lightly.
    2. Idioms, Slang Termslick ass, Slang (vulgar ). See kiss (def. 10).
    3. Idiomslick into shape, Informal. to bring to completion or perfection through discipline, hard work, etc.:They needed another rehearsal to lick the production into shape.
    4. Idioms lick one's chops. See chop 3 (def. 7).
    5. Idiomslick one's wounds. See wound1 (def. 4).
    6. Idiomslick the dust. See dust (def. 16).
    7. lick up, to lap up;
      devour greedily.

    1. a stroke of the tongue over something.
    2. as much as can be taken up by one stroke of the tongue.
    3. See salt lick. 
    4. Informal.
        • a blow.
        • a brief, brisk burst of activity or energy.
        • a quick pace or clip;
        • a small amount: I haven't done a lick of work all week.
    5. Usually, licks. a critical or complaining remark.
    6. Music and DanceUsually, licks.[Jazz Slang.]a musical phrase, as by a soloist in improvising.
    7. Idiomslast licks, a final turn or opportunity:We got in our last licks on the tennis court before the vacation ended.
    8. Idiomslick and a promise, a hasty and perfunctory performance in doing something:I didn't have time to clean thoroughly, so I gave the room a lick and a promise.
    Etymology:bef. 1000;
    Middle English;
    Old English liccian, cognate with Old Saxon liccōn, Old High German leckōn;
    akin to Go bilaigon, Latin lingere, Greek leíchein to lick (up)
    15 a . thwack, thump, rap, slap, cuff, buffet.

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    lick /lɪk/ vb
    1. (transitive) to pass the tongue over, esp in order to taste or consume
    2. to flicker or move lightly over or round (something): the flames licked around the door
    3. (transitive) informal to defeat or vanquish
    4. to flog or thrash
    5. to be or do much better than
    6. lick into shapeto put into a satisfactory condition: from the former belief that bear cubs were born formless and had to be licked into shape by their mother
    7. lick one's woundsto retire after a defeat or setback in order to husband one's resources
    1. an instance of passing the tongue over something
    2. a small amount: a lick of paint
    3. Also called: salt lick a block of compressed salt or chemical matter provided for domestic animals to lick for medicinal and nutritional purposes
    4. informal a hit; blow
    5. slang a short musical phrase, usually on one instrument
    6. informal speed; rate of movement: he was going at quite a lick when he hit it
    7. a lick and a promisesomething hastily done, esp a hurried wash
    Etymology: Old English liccian; related to Old High German leckon, Latin lingere, Greek leikhein

    ˈlicker n

    'lick' also found in these entries:

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