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[stik-uh l] /ˈstɪk əl/
verb (used without object), stickled, stickling.
to argue or haggle insistently, especially on trivial matters.
to raise objections; scruple; demur.
Origin of stickle
1520-30; variant of obsolete stightle to set in order, frequentative of stight to set in order, Middle English stighten, Old English stihtan to arrange; cognate with German stiften, Old Norse stētta to set up Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for stickle
Historical Examples
  • "But you did stickle about words an hour ago," said Mr. Hempstead, with some severity.

  • But the magistrate was not in a frame of mind to stickle for nicety of expression.

    Monsieur Lecoq, v.1 Emile Gaboriau
  • Cringe, in the sense of to constrain; and so to stickle, or haggle.

  • I would not stickle about hours, but the money and the drink are very just.

    Sybil Benjamin Disraeli
  • I am not disposed to stickle for this particular phraseology.

  • stickle Pond is probably the best adapted of any of those available.

    The Passaic Flood of 1903 Marshall Ora Leighton
  • Why, in this manner—but you mustnt mind my speaking out: we know each other well enough not to stickle at formalities—eh?

    Dust Julian Hawthorne
  • Let three hundred be taken, and if you find more wanted do not stickle to add to this number.

    Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln

    Charles L. Marson
  • Such is the influence of Government, that the Devil will every where stickle mightily, to have that siding with him.

  • The interview ended with a present of half-a-bull to Micky from the convict, which the boy seemed to stickle at accepting.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost

    William Frend De Morgan
British Dictionary definitions for stickle


verb (intransitive)
to dispute stubbornly, esp about minor points
to refuse to agree or concur, esp by making petty stipulations
Word Origin
C16 stightle (in the sense: to arbitrate): frequentative of Old English stihtan to arrange; related to Old Norse stētta to support
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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