9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ik-ee] /ˈɪk i/
adjective, ickier, ickiest. Informal.
repulsive or distasteful.
excessively sweet or sentimental.
unsophisticated or old-fashioned.
sticky; viscid.
Origin of icky
1930-35, Americanism; of uncertain origin
Related forms
ickiness, noun
1. revolting, nasty. 3. gummy, gooey, gucky. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for icky
  • It's represented by a bunch of those icky hole-in-the floor potties.
  • It may seem that the whole icky lot of them, and the miniature realms they inhabit, are unrelated to human concerns.
  • Look at a hagfish and you'll probably think it's pretty icky.
  • They can buzz annoyingly and cast a pallid light that many people find icky.
  • Other people feel icky because bad stuff is leaving.
  • There's something intensely icky about being ruled by the fake outrage of others.
  • Test your knowledge about weird, icky and gross aspects of your health and body.
  • Next time you start it up little sandy bits come out and look icky.
  • It is thoughtless and insulting to have a candidate sit on the bed, not to mention icky.
  • Unpleasant odors and icky tactile sensations disturb him.
British Dictionary definitions for icky


adjective ickier, ickiest
excessively sentimental or emotional
Derived Forms
ickiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for icky

1935, American English, probably from icky-boo (c.1920) "sickly, nauseated," probably baby talk elaboration of sick. Originally a swing lover's term for more sentimental jazz music; in general use from 1938.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for icky


  1. Overly sentimental; maudlin; schmaltzy: That music pleased my icky, lachrymose sensibility/ The prose gets a mite too icky-poo for comfort (1939+ Jive talk)
  2. Unpleasant; revolting; nasty; gross, grungy: Those cool comedies and quizzes became dumb, boring, icky, weird/ refuse to get involved in anything outside their own little ickey-wickey bailiwicks/ The acting is icky (1960s+)

A conventional, tedious person; square: She turned out to be an icky (1935+)

[fr baby talk, ''sticky, nasty''; although perhaps fr Yiddish elken or iklen, ''to nauseate, revolt'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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