from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A telegraphic instrument that receives news reports and prints them on paper tape.
  • noun Any of various devices that receive and display similar information, such as stock market quotations, electronically.
  • noun Slang A watch.
  • noun Slang The heart.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Something which ticks, or makes a slight repeated sound.
  • noun A telegraphic instrument, especially a stock indicator (which see, under indicator).
  • noun A cribbing horse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who, or that which, ticks, or produces a ticking sound, as a watch or clock, a telegraphic sounder, etc.
  • noun A telegraphic receiving instrument that automatically prints off stock quotations (stock ticker), market report, or other news on a paper ribbon or “tape.”
  • noun an electronic instrument receiving information by transmision from a remote source and displaying it in readable fashion, not necessarily on paper tape (e.g. on a video display terminal or moving ribbon of electronically controlled lights).
  • noun colloq. The heart.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A measuring or reporting device, particularly one which makes a ticking sound as the measured events occur.
  • noun A stock ticker.
  • noun A news ticker.
  • noun colloquial The heart.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a small portable timepiece
  • noun a character printer that automatically prints stock quotations on ticker tape
  • noun the hollow muscular organ located behind the sternum and between the lungs; its rhythmic contractions move the blood through the body


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • I hate it in reference to people's hearts. tickertape is ok.

    December 4, 2006

  • Actually, in a metaphoric sense, ticker can be a very poetic way to describe the heart. The idea that the heart is the internal time piece of the body, slowly ticking, winding down every down, until it runs out of beats and the clock stops.

    December 4, 2006

  • bum-ticker

    July 23, 2009

  • Wordnick should have a new category for some words: 'expressions'. Could one look up an expression? Not easy to do in most dictionaries as an expression is not a word. It is also not a quote or quite an adjective or adverb. Nor is it necessarily slang. It may be specialized usage, however. In this case, my question is: is the expression 'bum-ticker' a term deriving from the ticker-tape of elegraphy or does it refer to the slang use referring to the heart or a clock? Extended, does 'bum-ticker' describe more than just bad news and general trends such as a stock-market crash? As such, expressions evade wordsmiths and linguistics generally.

    July 23, 2009