# “I like it a tick better” - proper English?

There's a German expression, "einen Tick besser", which means "just a little bit better".

Does that same expression exist in English? I just wrote this comment on a Stack Overflow question:

I like his solution a tick better since it avoids any nesting.

Is that proper English or does it sound weird?

• Yes. But it would be more idiomatic to use a tad better; a tick is also a small arachnid. – Elliott Frisch Feb 28 '14 at 14:05
• Or a "smidge," or if you're in a group of engineers and physicists, " $\epsilon$ better" . ($\epsilon$ being the standard symbol in calculus for quantity being sent to zero in the limit). I would also suspect that some English-speaking software folk would react to "tick" as a single clock cycle. – Carl Witthoft Feb 28 '14 at 14:24
• @CarlWitthoft ...followed by the shortest math joke: let epsilon < 0. – Max Feb 28 '14 at 15:13
• @Max: As is so often the case with "weird, low-currency" expressions, this usage seems to be primarily a product of American sports commentators. Elliot's tad is much more common in the wider world, but it's quite informal (and to my mind, still smacks of "jargon", since it's relatively recently been revived by journalists, rather than having been in constant use for decades/centuries). If you want something less obviously "slangy", touch has a long, proud, and continuous history for such contexts. – FumbleFingers Feb 28 '14 at 16:45
• In the US we would more often use a bit better. – Oldcat Feb 28 '14 at 17:36