A slang term for a foul in basketball that meets one of the following qualifications: unnecessary, did not affect the opposing player's movement or actions, or was light and inconsequential. These fouls are often called at the end of close games, or when two teams have a higher than normal level of animosity towards one another. Another instance when a ticky-tacky foul may be called is when a referee does not have a clear view of the play.
A foul labeled a ticky-tacky foul is often considered unnecessary by players, coaches and those watching the game. Normal fouls are the result of one player illegally preventing a player from performing some type of action, usually with a powerful, strong move. A ticky-tacky foul call shares none of these characteristics and is therefore despised by all individuals who play, coach or watch basketball.