tick tack toe


a simple game in which one player marks down only X's and another only O's, each alternating in filling in any of the nine compartments of a figure formed by two vertical lines crossed by two horizontal lines, the winner being the first to fill in three marks in any horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row.
a children's game consisting of trying, with the eyes shut, to bring a pencil down upon one of a set of circled numbers, as on a slate, the number touched being counted as a score.
Also, tick-tack-too [tik-tak-too] , tic-tac-toe, tit-tat-toe.

1865–70; imitative of sound, as of bringing a pencil down on slate; see ticktack

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World English Dictionary
tick-tack-toe or tick-tack-too (ˌtɪktækˈtəʊ, ˌtɪktækˈtuː)
(US), (Canadian) Also called (in Britain and certain other countries): noughts and crosses a game in which two players, one using a nought, "O", the other a cross, "X", alternately mark one square out of nine formed by two pairs of crossed lines, the winner being the first to get three of his symbols in a row
[C19: from ticktack (meaning: an obsolete variety of backgammon)]
tick-tack-too or tick-tack-too
[C19: from ticktack (meaning: an obsolete variety of backgammon)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1884, probably an extension of tick-tack (1588), a form of backgammon, possibly from M.Fr. trictrac, perhaps imitative of the sound of tiles on the board.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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