Green’s Dictionary of Slang

licks n.

[SE lick, a blow]

1. [late 18C+] a thrashing [now mainly UK black].

2. [20C+] orders [now mainly UK black].

3. [1980s+] verbal abuse.

4. [1990s+] (US black) robbery.

In phrases

drive licks in someone’s skin/tail (v.)

see under drive v.1

get one’s licks (v.)

[mid-19C+] (US) to get one’s chance, to get one’s way.

give someone the licks of Lisbon (v.) [? ref. to Portuguese colonialism]

[20C+] (W.I., Guyn.) to berate, to scold severely, to tell off.

licks like fire (n.) [20C+] (W.I.)

1. a savage beating.

2. an overwhelming victory.