American English

Definition of lick verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they lick
    he / she / it licks
    past simple licked
    -ing form licking
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  1. 1[transitive] to move your tongue over the surface of something in order to eat it, make it wet, or clean it lick something He licked his fingers. I'm tired of licking envelopes. The cat sat licking its paws. lick something + adj. She licked the spoon clean.
  2. 2[transitive] lick something + adv./prep. to eat or drink something by licking it The cat licked up the milk. She licked the honey off the spoon.
  3. 3[transitive, intransitive] (of flames) to touch something lightly lick something Flames were soon licking the curtains. lick at something The flames were now licking at their feet.
  4. 4[transitive] lick somebody/something (informal) to easily defeat someone or deal with something We thought we had them licked. It was a tricky problem but I think we've licked it.
  5. Idioms
    get/knock/lick/whip somebody into shape
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    to train someone so that they do a particular job, task, etc. well It took him just two weeks to whip the new recruits into shape.
    get/knock/lick/whip something into shape
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    to make something more acceptable, organized, or successful I've got all the information together but it still needs to be knocked into shape. It shouldn't take long to get the company back into shape.
    lick somebody's boots (disapproving)
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    to show too much respect for someone in authority because you want to please them
      lick/smack your lips
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    1. 1to move your tongue over your lips, especially before eating something good
    2. 2(informal) to show that you are excited about something and want it to happen soon They were licking their lips at the thought of clinching the deal.
    lick your wounds
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    to spend time trying to get your strength or confidence back after a defeat or disappointment Leeds are still licking their wounds after their humiliating defeat by Grimsby.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: lick