"tight as a tick"

James C Stalker stalker at MSU.EDU
Mon Apr 11 01:05:42 UTC 2005

In my native KY usage, both meanings are possible, but "nearly inseparable"
is first, then "filled to near bursting" is second.  Getting the tick out of
your (or your dog's) skin is more important than how much blood they have
managed to suck out of you.  I mean, after all, you gotta burn that sucker
out, literally.  If the head is left in, it leads to infection possibly
death, and then who knows what.


sagehen writes:

>  Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>> Mike Evans, author of _American Prophecies_  and described as a
>>> "Mideast analyst" on Fox News, has just explained the nature of the
>>> relationship between Prime Minister Sharon and President Bush as
>>> follows :
>>>          "These two are tight as a tick !"
>>> He meant they're "very friendly" - not "very drunk," which is what the
>>> phrase usually means.
>>> Google, however, shows that "tight as a tick" can emphasize virtually
>>> any idiomatic
>>> sense of "tight."
>>> JL
>  ~~~~~~~~
> While the figurative  use of "tight as a tick" probably does usually mean
> drunk as a skunk, the non-figurative tick it alludes to could be one of
> several things.  The bloodsucking sort are famously difficult to dislodge,
> since they burrow into the host's skin.  That tightness seems just as
> likely to me as the filled-to-bursting tightness.  Another kind of tick
> tightness could be that of a straw tick: a mattress or pad tightly filled
> with straw or other material.
> A. Murie

James C. Stalker
Department of English
Michigan State University

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