Submitted by enkida on May 4, 2005

“Sic” or “Sick” something on someone?

There’s a slang expression in English which I don’t know how to spell correctly. The phrase would be used (phoentically) like this:

“I’m gonna sic the cops on you for doing that!”

meaning “I am going to report to the police what you did, and you will presumably be punished for doing it.”

Now I’ve seen internet kids using this phrase left and right, and I have seen it consistently spelled

“SICK” --> “I’m gonna sick the cops on you!”

It’s slang, so I’ve looked, but I can’t find the answer in a dictionary anywhere. But it’s driving me nutty, because I always thought it was spelled “sic” and not “sick.”

Is there a proper answer to this question, and if so, does anyone have it?



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from the online Merriam-Webster at

Main Entry: 2sic
Variant(s): also sick /'sik/
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): sicced also sicked /'sikt/; sic·cing also sick·ing
Etymology: alteration of seek
1 : CHASE, ATTACK -- usually used as a command especially to a dog <sic 'em>
2 : to incite or urge to an attack, pursuit, or harassment : SET

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The word is not slang, you should be able to find it any dictionary. But to the point: both spellings are acceptable, thou "sic" is more common.

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I think it's better to use sic. Sic is a word made just for that usage, while sick is just a variation.

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Actually they're both variations of "seek".

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Keep in mind that "sic" is also an editorial note, inserted into the original text, I believe in the instance where there is a mistak [sic].

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To be safe, use "sic."

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sic is a LATIN word.

is used now for quote a sentence from someone.
like you say in your first exemple.

sick it was deturned from his usage.
on online game like cs or wow : sick means "shit im dead... sick..."
and now the kevin are lost between sic and sick.

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sic is latin, meaning "thus" and mostly used to quote a sentence with a spelling or grammar mistake in it to show that it's not your own mistake but verbatim.

It's also a short form of 'seek' and used to set the dogs on someone.

Sick 'em is a modern misspelling that imo gives it a slightly different connotation, but still works. And it means you don't have to learn a new word, handy for lazy teenagers and people with English as a second language. It's lazy though.

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Using "sick" for "sic" isn't slang - it's bad grammar.

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