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Synonym Kiss mark, love bite, bug bite
Love bite.jpg
Hickeys on the neck.

A hickey, hickie or love bite in British English, or grub love is a bruise or bruise-like mark caused by the kissing or sucking of the skin, usually on the neck or arm. While biting might be part of giving a hickey, sucking is sufficient to burst small superficial blood vessels under the skin.

The origin of the word is from its earlier meaning of "pimple, skin lesion" (c. 1915); perhaps a sense extension and spelling variation from the earlier word meaning "small gadget, device; any unspecified object" which has a unknown origin (1909).[1]

Hickeys typically last from 5 to 12 days and may be treated in the same way as other bruises.[2] Ways to reduce the appearance of hickeys include icing recent hickeys to reduce swelling, rubbing them with a chilled spoon to remove the bruise, and applying a warm compress to older hickeys to dilate vessels and promote blood flow.[3] They can be covered with a concealer or powder corresponding to the sufferer's skin tone, or a fake tan. Alternatively, articles of clothing such as scarves, snoods, turtle necks, or sleeves may be used to conceal hickeys.


  1. ^ "hickie - Origin and meaning of hickie by Online Etymology Dictionary". 
  2. ^ "How Long Do Hickeys Last". April 15, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-05-20. 
  3. ^ Amar, Charu (2009-11-06). "Ouch! That's a lovebite!". Man-Woman Relationships. The Times of India. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 

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