Definitions

tick off

Tick (checkmark)

A tick (known as a checkmark or check in American English) is a mark (✓, ✔, ☑, , etc.) used to indicate the concept "yes", for example "yes; this has been verified" or, "yes; that is the correct answer". Its opposite is the cross, although the cross can also be positive (most notably on election ballot papers).

As a verb, to tick (off) or to check (off) means to add such a mark. It is quite common, especially on printed forms, printed documents, and computers (see check box), for there to be squares in which to place ticks. In America and Germany, it is more common for people to check a square box with an x mark; while in some European countries, it is more common for people to check a square box with a v-shaped checkmark.

In the U.S. (but not Canada) and some European countries (e.g. Finland and Sweden), the tick can be used as an error mark and indicates "no" rather than "yes". In Japan and Korea, an "O Mark" (in the appearance of a circle, unicode symbol "◯"), also known as "丸印" marujirushi, is used instead of a tick to mean 'yes'.

A rainbow-colored tick was also used for the Amiga logo during the Commodore era of the Amiga (1985-1994).

History

Contributors to The Guardian's Notes and Queries page on the tick mark suggest that it goes back to the ancient Romans: When keeping checklists, they marked the items that they had checked with a V, standing for the Latin word veritas ("truth"). However the contributors don't provide much evidence for this.

Another history suggests that it comes from the use of fountain pens. A fountain pen (a "self-filling pen" not a dip pen or a quill pen) would not always start flowing ink without some initial action. The downstroke of the pen's nib was enough to get the ink flowing and then the ink was available for the upstroke.

Tick marks in Unicode

Unicode provides various related symbols, including:
Symbol Unicode Codepoint (Hex) Name
U+2713 CHECK MARK (tick)
U+2714 HEAVY CHECK MARK (bold tick)
U+2610 BALLOT BOX (square)
U+2611 BALLOT BOX WITH CHECK (square with tick)

See also

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