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lick, n contains mapscontains audiocontains DARE survey quotes

1 A sharp blow or stroke, as with the fist, a weapon, or a tool.chiefly South, South Midland, Texas, Oklahoma

2 An act of physical or verbal aggression; an opportunity for attack; hence phr get in one’s licks to get one’s chance; to get one’s way.

3 A skill, knack; an effective method.



a A brief burst of activity; a “go,” “turn,” “stroke” of work; hence phrr at a lick and varr: at once, at a time.

b Esp:

(1) in phrr put in one’s (best) licks and varr: To work hard, do one’s best.

(2) in var neg phrr: The smallest amount of work; a bit of work.Note: This sense shades imperceptibly into sense 5 below; somewhat arbitrarily, all phrr meaning “didn’t do any work at all” are collected here, except hit (or strike) a lick and varr, which appear to be more closely related to sense 1 above and are treated at hit a lick 1 and strike a lick.

5 A small amount, bit; the smallest amount (of something); hence in quasi-adverbial use, a bit, at all—usu in neg contexts.chiefly South, South Midland

6 Pace, rate of going; hence phr mend one’s licks to go faster.esp South Midland

7 Syrup, molasses.chiefly West

8 A spring or stream.chiefly Allegheny Mountains