What does the idiom "in a tick" mean?
Are you using the idiom in a tick but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the in a tick idiom and the situations in which it is used.
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'.
- "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 Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms
Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.