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April 17, 2022

Lickety-split /lick·e·ty-split / adverb

Definition: Downtown New Yorkers moving in the middle of a busy workday, are excellent examples of the word lickety-split in action. Lickety-split is a North American term that made its debut in the late 18th century as slang. As its use became more common among Americans at the time, lickety-split gained popularity in the late early 19th century. North Americans created lickety-split as an informal adverb to represent quickly moving, busy, and hurried activities.

The word lickety-split encourages or describes people who are hurried up, moving quickly and at a rapid pace when carrying out an activity. If someone is asking you to do something “lickety-split” this means they want the activity completed as quickly as possible. We still use lickety-split as slang and informal language in the US to describe people moving faster than they normally would on most other occasions.

Etymology: The first recorded use of the word “lickety-split” was in North America around 1859. Etymologists say North Americans formed the word by combining the fanciful play words ‘lick’ and “split.” At the time, the word “lick” was used as a noun that meant to win or beat out the competition at a “fast pace or sprint.”

“Split” is an early verb that was combined with the noun “lick” to form the word “lickety-split.” The combination of two fanciful words led to the informal slang term known as “lickety-split. We still use the word in North America with the same meaning they assigned it in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In short, “lickety-split” means to hurry up and dash!

In a Sentence

The real-estate developers built the new downtown apartment complex lickety-split!

You’d better get going lickety-split if you want to catch your flight!

The startled driver changed direction lickety-split to avoid having a car accident.


Chop-Chop, Double-Quick


Slow, Slowly


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