• WordNet 3.6
    • adj ticklish difficult to handle; requiring great tact "delicate negotiations with the big powers","hesitates to be explicit on so ticklish a matter","a touchy subject"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Ticklish Difficult; nice; critical; as, a ticklish business. "Surely princes had need, in tender matters and ticklish times, to beware what they say."
    • Ticklish Sensible to slight touches; easily tickled; as, the sole of the foot is very ticklish; the hardened palm of the hand is not ticklish .
    • Ticklish Standing so as to be liable to totter and fall at the slightest touch; unfixed; easily affected; unstable. "Can any man with comfort lodge in a condition so dismally ticklish ?"
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • ticklish Easily moved or unbalanced; unsteady; unstable; uncertain; inconstant.
    • ticklish Dubious; difficult; critical.
    • ticklish Easily tickled: tickly; touchy: as, the sole of the foot is very ticklish; a ticklish person.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Ticklish easily tickled: easily affected: nice: critical
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
M. E. tikel, unstable, tikelen, freq. of tick, to touch lightly.


In literature:

It was a ticklish business right through.
"The Albert Gate Mystery" by Louis Tracy
For those watching from hiding it was a ticklish moment.
"Laramie Holds the Range" by Frank H. Spearman
All this had to be done slowly and deliberately so as not to startle the flock, but, as Rifle said, it was ticklish work.
"The Dingo Boys" by G. Manville Fenn
Them 'floo-enzers is ticklish things to play with.
"Fighting the Flames" by R.M. Ballantyne
To the civilian mind, being sent forward purposely to draw the enemy's fire, looks like "ticklish" business.
"Uncle Sam's Boys in the Philippines" by H. Irving Hancock
It was a ticklish zigzag, just to the left of the transporting machinery, with twenty places in which a slip would mean death.
"Adventures in Many Lands" by Various
Egad I fear it's a ticklish business.
"Rookwood" by William Harrison Ainsworth
Brer Possum mighty ticklish, en time Wattle Weasel totch 'im in de short ribs, he 'gun ter laugh.
"Nights With Uncle Remus" by Joel Chandler Harris
It was ticklish work, but by the help of the rope he maintained his balance till he could find hand-hold and stand perfectly upright.
"The Crystal Hunters" by George Manville Fenn
There was a deal of slippery crawling to do, of slow, ticklish climbing.
"Harbor Tales Down North" by Norman Duncan

In poetry:

RIBERA (sharply).
Why not? What would'st thou say? Speak, fret me not
With ticklish fears. Is she not by my side,
For work or rest?
"The Spagnoletto. Act III" by Emma Lazarus
'Tain't much of a job to talk about,
But a ticklish thing to see,
And suth'in to do, if I say it, too,
For that second mate was me!"
"A Sailor's Yarn" by James Jeffrey Roche
Well, now, if this ain't a joke, with rather a bitter cream!
It seems as if I'd woke from a mighty ticklish dream;
And I think she "smells a rat," for she smiles at me so queer;
I hope she don't; good Lord! I hope that they didn't hear!
"Gone With A Handsomer Man" by William McKendree Carleton

In news:

Faced with such a ticklish question, David Caldwell, head of the attorney general's public corruption unit, will probably have to ask his dad what to do.
Who's the Most Ticklish .
Ticklish plant challenges keep gardeners on their toes.
It's Funny How Humor Is So Ticklish .
That's why George Clooney, in his pool, also waddles around in flippers for this celebrity photographer and director, why Renée Zellweger giggles like a ticklish kid.
Which is part of the reason why Animal Planet's " Hillbilly Handfishin' " is such ticklish fun.
The first issue is that I'm extremely ticklish.