Note: This entry was previously tickly-bender(s).

tickly-bender n, usu pl Also tickely-bender, tickley-bender chiefly NEast, esp PA, NJ Cf bender n 1, bend doughnut n, bendy-bow n, cracky benders n, kittly-bender n, rubber ice n, teeter v 2, ticklish-bender n, ticklish adj, n, tiddlies n, tiddly-bender n, tiddlywink n

An area of yielding ice made naturally or deliberately on a body of water; the sport of running or skating over such ice; hence v phrr run (or play at) tickly-benders.

1850 (1854) Kane Grinnell Exped. 179 PA, The sound presented a novel spectacle to us; the young ice glazing it over, so as to form a viscid sea of sludge and tickly-benders, from the northern shore to the pack. 1855 in 1862 Stockton Poems 122 cwNJ, Nay, thick enough t’ endure the sudden shock / O’ th’ shouting school-boys, rushing from the hill,/ All sliding, sledding, skating; joining hands / In circling groups, and stamping long and strong / To hollow tickly-benders—but in vain. 1886 Abbott Upland 52 NJ, How quickly crows learn to know when the ice will bear them. . . I have even seen them play at “tickle-y benders.” 1890 DN 1.75 MA, Tittly benders . . pl.: sallies out on thin ice. . . In Barnstable, Mass., [tɪkl-ɪ] (three syllables) [bɛndə]. “Let’s make it tickly-bender.” 1894 DN 1.334 NJ, Tickly (tickely, ticklish) bender: running on yielding ice. 1912 S. Jersey Republican (Hammonton NJ) 17 Feb 8/4, Several young folks broke thro’ the ice, on the Lake, this week. In every case that we know of, it was because the skater carelessly or foolishly ventured upon newly made ice—“tickly-benders” they call them. 1918 Pennypacker Autobiog. Pennsylvanian 42 sePA (as of 1850s), When playing “tickly benders” on the thin ice of the canal, the ice gave way and I fell into the water. 1961 Tolman North of Monadnock 229 NH, Tickly-benders . . is one of those indigenous sports. The skaters form a circle which at one point passes close to the open water at the mouth of a brook, where the ice is thin as cardboard. The first skater gets up as much speed as possible, so as to coast over the thin spot with feet apart and weight evenly distributed. One by one the others follow. . . until the ice is so weakened somebody goes through. 1967–70 DARE (Qu. B35, Ice that will bend when you step on it, but not break) Inf NJ25, Tickly-bender; IL81, Tickly-bender—great for skating on; (Qu. EE27, Games played on the ice) Inf CT42, Tickly-bender—running from one side to the other without falling. 1996 Horton Island Out of Time 205 Chesapeake Bay MD, In the winter we’d play tickly bender, which is racing across the ice when a thaw has made it limber.