Definition of tick-tock in English:


Syllabification: tick-tock
Pronunciation: /ˈtiktäk/


1The sound of a large clock ticking: we could hear every tick-tock of the clock
More example sentences
  • She could hear the sounds of an empty, sleeping house; the tick-tock of the grandfather clock in the hallway, the dripping of a tap in the bathroom next to her, the low snuffling snores of her Dad next door.
  • The tick-tock of the clock was amplified and I glanced at it as a reflex.
  • It speaks of winter days sitting snug and cosy, the lamp lighting my page, toes gently toasting, and the quiet tick-tock of the clock.
1.1US informal A piece of journalism that presents a detailed chronology of events: I’m doing a tick-tock on the new economic policy [as modifier]: a tick-tock account of what went into the planning and execution of the raid
More example sentences
  • A fine piece of reporting lays out in tick-tock form how the program allowed itself to be taken in by the sloppy frauds.
  • It serves no purpose to go back and do the tick-tock.
  • One of the regular features in the Wall Street Journal was the "tick-tock", an inside-the-boardroom reconstruction of a big deal.


[no object] Back to top  
Make a ticking sound: the clock on the wall was tick-tocking
More example sentences
  • The metronome is a nice reference tool, but if you don't have one to practice with, think of the arm of a grandfather clock tick-tocking back and forth.
  • Not a sound was to be heard anywhere; the place had nearly reached the mystical non-existent state, supposing there was one, was it not for the clock which tirelessly tick-tocked its way through the smooth black silk of silence.
  • Mindful of the time, he watched the clock tick-tock its way towards 7:15.


mid 19th century: imitative; compare with tick1.

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Pronunciation: vīˈnāSHəs
of the color of red wine