Pronunciation: (lik), [key]
1. to 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.
2. to make, or cause to become, by stroking with the tongue: to lick a spoon clean.
3. (of waves, flames, etc.) to pass or play lightly over: The flame licked the dry timber.
4. Informal.
a. to hit or beat, esp. as a punishment; thrash; whip.
b. to overcome or defeat, as in a fight, game, or contest.
c. to outdo or surpass.

1. to move quickly or lightly.
2. lick ass, Slang (vulgar). See kiss (def. 10).
3. lick 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. lick one's chops. See chop 3 (def. 7).
5. lick one's wounds. See wound1 (def. 4).
6. lick 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. a blow.
b. a brief, brisk burst of activity or energy.
c. a quick pace or clip; speed.
d. a small amount: I haven't done a lick of work all week.
5. Usually, licks. a critical or complaining remark.
6. Usually, licks. Jazz Slang.a musical phrase, as by a soloist in improvising.
7. last licks, a final turn or opportunity: We got in our last licks on the tennis court before the vacation ended.
8. lick 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.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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