lick up


verb (used with object)
to pass the tongue over the surface of, as to moisten, taste, or eat (often followed 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.
to hit or beat, especially as a punishment; thrash; whip.
to overcome or defeat, as in a fight, game, or contest.
to outdo or surpass.
verb (used without object)
to move quickly or lightly.
a stroke of the tongue over something.
as much as can be taken up by one stroke of the tongue.
a blow.
a brief, brisk burst of activity or energy.
a quick pace or clip; speed.
a small amount: I haven't done a lick of work all week.
Usually, licks. a critical or complaining remark.
Usually, licks. Jazz Slang. a musical phrase, as by a soloist in improvising.
Verb phrases
lick up, to lap up; devour greedily.
last licks, a final turn or opportunity: We got in our last licks on the tennis court before the vacation ended.
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.
lick ass, Slang: Vulgar. kiss ( def 17 ).
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.
lick one's chops. chop3 ( def 7 ).
lick one's wounds. wound1 ( def 6 ).
lick the dust. dust ( def 23 ).

before 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)

licker, noun

9a. thwack, thump, rap, slap, cuff, buffet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lick (lɪk)
1.  (tr) 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.  informal (tr)
 a.  to defeat or vanquish
 b.  to flog or thrash
 c.  to be or do much better than
4.  lick into shape to 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
5.  lick one's lips to anticipate or recall something with glee or relish
6.  lick one's wounds to retire after a defeat or setback in order to husband one's resources
7.  lick the boots of See boot
8.  an instance of passing the tongue over something
9.  a small amount: a lick of paint
10.  Also called: salt lick a block of compressed salt or chemical matter provided for domestic animals to lick for medicinal and nutritional purposes
11.  a place to which animals go to lick exposed natural deposits of salt
12.  informal a hit; blow
13.  slang a short musical phrase, usually on one instrument
14.  informal speed; rate of movement: he was going at quite a lick when he hit it
15.  a lick and a promise something hastily done, esp a hurried wash
[Old English liccian; related to Old High German leckon, Latin lingere, Greek leikhein]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. liccian "to lick," from P.Gmc. *likkon (cf. Du. likken, Ger. lecken, Goth. bi-laigon), from PIE imitative base *leigh- (cf. Skt. ledhi "he licks," Arm. lizum "I lick," Gk. leikhein "to lick," L. lingere "to lick," O.Ir. ligim "I lick," Welsh llwy "spoon"). Fr. lecher is a Gmc. loan word. Sense of
"a blow, stroke" first recorded 1678 from verb sense of "to beat," first attested 1535, which may be from its use in the Coverdale bible that year in sense of "defeat, annihilate" (an enemy's forces) in Num. xxii.4:
"Now shal this heape licke up all that is about vs, euen as an oxe licketh vp the grasse in the field."
But to lick (of) the whip "taste punishment" is attested from c.1460. Lickspittle "sycophant" is attested from 1825. To lick (someone or something) into shape (1612) is in ref. to the supposed ways of bears:
"Beres ben brought forthe al fowle and transformyd and after that by lyckyng of the fader and the moder they ben brought in to theyr kyndely shap." ["The Pylgremage of the Sowle," 1413]

"an act of licking," 1603, from lick (v.). Meaning "small portion" is 1814, originally Scottish; hence U.S. colloquial sense. Sense of "place where an animal goes to lick salt" is from 1747. Lickety-split is 1859 in Amer.Eng. (earlier lickety-cut, lickety-click, and simply
licketie, 1817) from dial. meaning of lick "very fast sprint in a race" (1809). The jazz music sense of "short figure or solo" is from 1920s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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