Meaning of tick-tock in English:


Pronunciation /tɪkˈtɒk/

Translate tick-tock into Spanish


  • 1The sound of a large clock ticking.

    ‘we could hear every tick-tock of the clock’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You can feel it throbbing and it's this, like the tick-tock of a clock, that sends you back to sleep.’
    • ‘And as she listened, the tick-tock of the clock on the wall seemed to fill her head and as Alana's lips moved all she could hear was a strange drone that only her ears could decipher.’
    • ‘The two neurones alternate in activity, like the steady tick-tock of a clock.’
    • ‘Each day, he sits on the edge of his bed, head hung in a state of lonely tristesse while the mellifluous tick-tock of a grandfather clock marks time.’
    • ‘Ben sat quietly, listening to the tick-tock of the grandfather clock.’
    • ‘The search for rhythmic patterns is so ingrained that given the persistent ticking of a clock we organise the beat into a pattern of tick-tock.’
    clicking, click, clack, clacking, click-clack, ticking, tick-tock, snick, snicking, plock, plocking, beat, tap, tapping
    1. 1.1US informal A piece of journalism that presents a chronological account of an event or series of events.
      • ‘an excellent tick-tock of the unfolding financial crisis’
      • ‘a tick-tock account of what went into the planning and execution of the raid’
      • ‘They were concerned about having the ability to recreate a chronology, a tick-tock of what had happened.’
      • ‘The script at each stop was a tick-tock of his accomplishments sprinkled with sharp jabs at Republicans.’
      • ‘Just to give you a bit of a tick-tock here, the president is going to make his way through the crowd.’
      • ‘The tick-tock of his misdeeds indicates that he shrewdly exploited his bosses' sympathy for his psychological problems.’
      • ‘On Friday, we'll give you a tick-tock countdown on what's going to happen from Friday to Monday.’
      • ‘If you want something of a play-by-play on what happened, he has a pretty good tick-tock on the specifics.’
      • ‘Both of them have done in-depth tick-tocks and post-mortems which are well worth reading.’
      • ‘One of the regular features in the Wall Street Journal was the "tick-tock", an inside-the-boardroom reconstruction of a big deal.’
      • ‘Other papers might have left the US business bible standing when news of the purchase broke, but the tick-tock, delivered later, would serve as a devastatingly definitive account.’
      • ‘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.’


[no object]
  • Make a ticking sound.

    ‘the clock on the wall was tick-tocking’
    • ‘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.’
    click, clack, tick-tock, snick, plock, beat, tap


Mid 19th century imitative; compare with tick.