tick off

tick off

Meaning | Synonyms

  • to make a mark next to items on a list that have been completed
  • to make someone angry or offended
  • to be angry with someone
  • to reprimand someone
  • to count things off on your fingers
  • to tell off
  • to rebuke or scold
  • give a talking-to
  • haul over the coals
  • take to task

Example Sentences

  1. I would like to tick off some more items on my list before going home.
  2. Please tick off the learners’ names as they enter the classroom.
  3. His attitude really ticks me off.
  4.  I am very ticked off with my sister for using my cell phone without asking.
  5. He ticked me off for forgetting his birthday. 
  6. She ticked off all of the things that she still had to do before the end of the day.
  7. Jackie shared things to tick off the list before leaving home for an international holiday.
  8. Please read the complete list and tick off the appropriate boxes.
  9. My decision is going to tick off my entire family.
  10. The most important thing to tick off the list is my mobile phone.
  11. If we make some more money, then a new family car is one more thing we can tick off the list.
  12. There are lots of things I want to tick off the list of things-to-do before I die.


As there are so many different definitions for the phrase, the origins all date back to different times. The earliest being the 1800s, meaning “a small mark or dot used to indicate a sale.”

The more figurative use of the phrase can be traced back to the early 1900s. It was first published in Wilfred Owen’s Collected Letters in 1915:

He has been ‘ticked-off’ four or five times for it…

The more well-known meaning only dates from the 1960s.

The letter that really ticked me off was…

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Idiom of the Day

leaps and bounds

Meaning: progress very quickly

Example: Regan's reading skills are coming on in leaps and bounds with the new teacher. Read on


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