What does the idiom "in a tick" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase in a tick, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression in a tick used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "in a tick"


The phrase 'in a tick' is an idiom which is used to express that something will happen soon. In many cases, it means that it will happen very shortly. This phrase is often used to answer questions in which the speaker is asked when something will occur. It can also be used when the speaker wants to emphasize that something will happen soon without giving a specific timeframe.


The origin of this phrase is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the United States in the early 1900s. The first known usage of this phrase was in a 1910 newspaper article. It is believed that the phrase is derived from the phrase 'in a jiffy', which was most likely derived from a faster version of the sailing term 'jibe'. 'Jibe' is an aeronautical term which refers to a quick turn of a boat or other vehicle which uses sails or oars.


The phrase 'in a tick' is most commonly used in informal conversation, particularly when the speaker is trying to express that something will happen soon or that something is nearly ready. It is also commonly used in response to a question that asks when something will happen, as it is typically used to indicate that the time frame is within the near future. It also has a slightly more playful connotation to it than other phrases which express a similar meaning, such as 'in a few minutes'.

Example Sentences

  • "I'll be ready to go in a tick!"
  • "How soon can you have the report finished?" "In a tick!"
  • "I promise I'll be there in a tick!"
  • "I'm almost done with the dish, it'll be ready in a tick!"
  • "I'm just finishing up the meeting and then I'm free. Be there in a tick!"

The meanings of the words in the "in a tick" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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