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[stik-ee] /ˈstɪk i/
adjective, stickier, stickiest.
having the property of adhering, as glue; adhesive.
covered with adhesive or viscid matter:
sticky hands.
(of the weather or climate) hot and humid:
It was an unbearably sticky day.
requiring careful treatment; awkwardly difficult:
a rather sticky diplomatic problem; Breaking the news is going to be sticky.
Informal. unpleasant; unfortunate; nasty:
The villain of the story meets a sticky end.
noun, plural stickies.
one of a number of small sheets of paper on a pad, each having an adhesive backing that allows it to be positioned and repositioned on smooth surfaces.
Origin of sticky
1720-30; 1910-15 for def 4; stick2 + -y1
Related forms
stickily, adverb
stickiness, noun
nonsticky, adjective
unsticky, adjective
3. muggy, sultry, damp, steamy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for stickiness
Historical Examples
  • Knead this dough until it is soft and elastic, and free from stickiness.

    Sandwiches Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer
  • He felt the stickiness, but the red blood was not welling out.

    The Memory of Mars Raymond F. Jones
  • This prevents the stickiness sometimes so annoying in ironing.

  • There is a peculiar sort of stickiness about college marriages.

    At Good Old Siwash George Fitch
  • The sun had come out, and the frosty ruts had softened to stickiness.

    The Copperhead Harold Frederic
  • We seized the sugar and retired in discretion and stickiness to the yard.

    The Believing Years Edmund Lester Pearson
  • The mud has the stickiness of glue with the solidity of putty.

    The Lost Army Thomas W. Knox
  • Work and beat it with the hand until it loses its stickiness, which will take some time.

    The Century Cook Book Mary Ronald
  • Its stickiness is so great that the least touch is enough to hold the object.

    More Hunting Wasps J. Henri Fabre
  • They would be called clay by many on account of their stickiness.

    The First Book of Farming Charles L. Goodrich
British Dictionary definitions for stickiness


adjective stickier, stickiest
covered or daubed with an adhesive or viscous substance: sticky fingers
having the property of sticking to a surface
(of weather or atmosphere) warm and humid; muggy
(of prices) tending not to fall in deflationary conditions
(informal) difficult, awkward, or painful: a sticky business
(US, informal) sentimental
(of a website) encouraging users to visit repeatedly
verb stickies, stickying, stickied
(transitive) (informal) to make sticky
noun (Austral, informal) (pl) stickies
short for stickybeak
an inquisitive look or stare (esp in the phrase have a sticky at)
Derived Forms
stickily, adverb
stickiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for stickiness



1727, "adhesive," from stick (v.). An Old English word for this was clibbor. First recorded 1864 in the sense of "sentimental;" 1915 with the meaning "difficult." Of weather, "hot and humid," from 1895. Sticky wicket is 1952, from British slang, in reference to cricket.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for stickiness



  1. Sentimental; schmaltzy, soppy: a sticky little song about a crippled puppy (1864+)
  2. Difficult; tricky; nasty: He considered himself a tap dancer, because he was very agile at gliding away from any sticky situation (1915+)

Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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