ticked off at "ticked off"

Discuss word origins and meanings.
Post Reply

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by KaminskiJL » Wed Jun 08, 2005 3:26 am

I am trying to find the origin of the phrase "ticked off". I understand that the phrase originated in the UK and the contemporary meaning of the phrse is to annoy or annoyed, but I don't understand why ticked off came to have that meaning, and why "tick"? Can anyone help?
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Jun 08, 2005 8:00 am

To tick someone off is to admonish them. "The child's mother ticked him off for running in the corridor". "I was ticked off when I got my sums wrong".
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jun 08, 2005 8:31 am

That is odd, Joseph. You may possibly be right about the UK origin, but I have never encountered the expression there -- the first time I ever heard 'ticked off' used in the sense you mention was in the USA, where it is a very common expression roughly equating to the British 'peeved' ("I'm really ticked off that you didn't call up and cancel if you knew you weren't coming!").

Whereas the British tick a box on a form (which they usually fill in), Americans check a box on a form (which they fill out).
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: -- Looking up a word? Try OneLook's metadictionary (--> definitions) and reverse dictionary (--> terms based on your definitions)8-- Contribute favourite diary entries, quotations and more here8 -- Find new postings easily with Active Topics8-- Want to research a word? Get essential tips from experienced researcher Ken Greenwald

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by pingpong fan » Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:42 am

Originally posted by KaminskiJL
I am trying to find the origin of the phrase "ticked off". I understand that the phrase originated in the UK and the contemporary meaning of the phrse is to annoy or annoyed, but I don't understand why ticked off came to have that meaning, and why "tick"? Can anyone help?
For attention of the poster of this poser: Mr Kaminski:- On google I always click on definition of words or phrase I seek the origins of. In this case for your info. it says: "from Middle English: TEK meaning light tap". The rest is history I guess. As a side line, don't Americans say they are "pissed" i.e. angry whereas in this jolly old bit of Europe this means drunk; we have to add "off" to mean the same as America. For what it's worth, hope I helped. Frank (table tennis is my game) Gibbard.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:17 am

Frank, you are of course correct about the US usage of 'pissed' to mean 'cross', but it should be noted that this is not quite yet an expression that can be freely used in the presence of 'polite company' (whatever that means -- in the USA, in practice it very often seems to mean 'children' :-) So for the sake of propriety, the usage of 'pissed' tends to give way to 'ticked off' in some situations.

However, as with the term 'asshole', meaning 'jerk', the time when it becomes almost universally acceptable is probably not far off as far as most of the country is concerned.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: -- Looking up a word? Try OneLook's metadictionary (--> definitions) and reverse dictionary (--> terms based on your definitions)8-- Contribute favourite diary entries, quotations and more here8 -- Find new postings easily with Active Topics8-- Want to research a word? Get essential tips from experienced researcher Ken Greenwald

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by sandx » Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:32 pm

KaminskiJL wrote: I am trying to find the origin of the phrase "ticked off". I understand that the phrase originated in the UK and the contemporary meaning of the phrse is to annoy or annoyed, but I don't understand why ticked off came to have that meaning, and why "tick"? Can anyone help?
I remember this expression,from my childhood in the highlands of Scotland. It meant to be admonished for a misdemeanour,with no punishment involved.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:17 pm

This is strange, “ticked off” meaning admonished is a perfectly common expression here, and still in daily use. It really surprises me that only Sandy has heard of it, Scotland and Wales hardly share a border.

On the subject of forms that we fill in and Americans fill out, have you noticed that British politicians stand for office, whilst Americans run?

You say tomayto, I say tomarto…
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Jun 08, 2005 8:46 pm

The first time I heard the expression TICKED OFF, meaning pissed off (the only usage I am familiar with in the U.S.) was in 1959. I remember that because that was the year I entered college in the wilds of upstate (anything in the state north and and/or west of NYC) New York. I remember the expression, which was rampant on campus, surprised me because coming from New York City I had never heard it before.

The British meaning of ‘admonish,’ which was also one of the earlier American meanings derives from TICK (also a noun) meaning to mark (a name, an item in a list, etc.) with a tick, mark off with a tick, check, identify, indicate that an item is noted, passed, or done with. <"Tick off a person’s name on a list.">. In the British military (circa WWI) to get a check or ‘tick’ mark meant that note was taken that one had done something wrong. This soon passed into the verb TICK OFF, to find fault, reproach, blame, upbraid, scold, reprimand for an infraction. And the OFF part was most likely inspired by the older TELL OFF. <“I ticked him off good and proper.”>. The expression had the same meaning in the U.S. military during WWI, but I get the feeling that it did not develop independently but was borrowed from the British, since TICK (to check off), I believe, was not as common an expression over here.
<1854 “He was not sure that if he had been required . . . to TICK HER OFF into columns in a parliamentary return, he would have quite known how to divide her.”—‘Hard Times’ by Dickens, I. xiv. page 108> [[check off]]

<1915 “He has been ‘TICKED-OFF’ four or five times for it; but is not yet shot at dawn.”—‘Letters’ (1967) by W. Owen, 2 November, page 365> [[reprimanded]]

<1932 “All that stupid unreal rhetoric of fascism . . . It's beautifully TICKED OFF, in its earlier and different manifestation, by Tolstoy.”—‘Letters’ (1969) by Aldous Huxley, page 363> [[marked off, identified]]

<1936 “‘TICKED OFF’ by one of the boys for leaving his car unlocked and complete with ignition key.”—‘The Listener,’ 29 August, page 297/1> [[reprimanded]]

<1978 “He'd TICKED OFF without being told to.”—“Jake’s Thing” by K. Amis, xvii. page 182> [[reprimanded]]
A second somewhat different, but related, meaning of TICK OFF in both the British and U.S. military during WW I was ‘to grumble or complain.’ And this may have been, in part, responsible for the other U.S. meaning, which didn’t make its appearance over here, at least according to the Oxford Dictionary of Slang, until 1959 (coincidentally, the year I entered college) – to annoy, make angry, infuriate. The expression is also heard as TICKED and is now used as a euphemism for the earlier PISSED OFF (1946), PISSED (1971), and is a variant of TEED OFF (1955) or T’D OFF, or TEED, which some believe derives from the game of golf. <“The coach’s attitude ticked him off.”>
<1925 “TICK, TO, to grumble.”—‘Soldier & Sailor Words and Phrases’ by Fraser & Gibbons, page 281>

<1958 “He listened to them TICKING about the food, not having enough pocket money, the cold, being in by quarter to eleven.”—‘Dear Boys’ by L. Little, I. iv. page 46> [[complaining, grumbling]]

<1971 “Certainly there was always something to TICK about. Our manoeuvres were pure hell ‘total aggs’, as the phrase went.”—‘A Soldier Erect’ by B. W. Aldiss, page 77> [[complain, grumble}}

<1975 “We got hit somethin' fierce. It really TICKED ME OFF! We lost everything!”—‘Washington Post,’ 19 February, c page 12/7> [[made angry]]

<1979 “Shit, it TICKS ME OFF I spent all the money on this tour and look what happens.”—‘Peking Duck’ by R. L. Simon, xvi. page 117> [[makes angry]]
(Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Chapman’s Dictionary of American Slang, Oxford Dictionary of Slang, Wicked Words by Rawson, Picturesque Expressions by Urdang, War Slang by Dickson, Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang, Oxford English Dictionary)
__________________

Ken G – June 8, 2005
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by sandx » Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:53 am

In the 17th Century ,`ticket` was the written aknowledgment of a debt.
Anyone living in debt was `living on tick`.

I assume that tick became the name for the mark made beside ones name in the book of a creditor.

Given a ticking off may have come from this.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

ticked off at "ticked off"

Post by Wizard of Oz » Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:03 am

.. to add the Downunder Colonial influence the term ticked off meaning annoyed is still used in Aus but not as much as it used to be having been replaced with pissed off or the more polite peed off or teed off ..
.. using it in the sense of admonish is hardly heard at all, eg He was given a good ticking off .. with Aussies preferring He got stuck into him. to mean the same thing ..

WoZ of Aus 09/06/05
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply