[ stik ]
See synonyms for: stickstickingsticksstuck on

  1. a branch or shoot of a tree or shrub that has been cut or broken off.

  2. a relatively long and slender piece of wood.

  1. a long piece of wood for use as fuel, in carpentry, etc.

  2. a rod or wand.

  3. a baton.

  4. Chiefly British. a walking stick or cane.

  5. a club or cudgel.

  6. something that serves to goad or coerce: The threat of unemployment was the stick that kept the workers toiling overtime.: Compare carrot (def. 3).

  7. a long, slender piece or part of anything: a stick of candy; sticks of celery.

  8. any of four equal parts in a pound of butter or margarine.

  9. Sports. an implement used to drive or propel a ball or puck, as a crosse or a hockey stick.

  10. Aeronautics. a lever, usually with a handle, by which the longitudinal and lateral motions of an airplane are controlled.

  11. Nautical. a mast or spar.

  12. Printing. composing stick.

  13. the sticks, Informal. any region distant from cities or towns, as rural districts; the country: Having lived in a large city all his life, he found it hard to adjust to the sticks.

  14. Military.

    • a group of bombs so arranged as to be released in a row across a target.

    • the bomb load.

  15. Informal. stick shift.

  16. Slang. a marijuana cigarette.

  17. Informal. an unenthusiastic or uninteresting person.

  18. Informal. a portion of liquor, as brandy, added to a nonalcoholic drink.

verb (used with object),sticked, stick·ing.
  1. to furnish (a plant, vine, etc.) with a stick or sticks in order to prop or support.

  2. Printing. to set (type) in a composing stick.

Idioms about stick

  1. short / dirty end of the stick, Slang. the least desirable assignment, decision, or part of an arrangement.

Origin of stick

First recorded before 1000; Middle English stikke, stike, Old English sticca “stick, peg, spoon”; akin to Old High German stehho, Old Norse stik “stick”; akin to stick2

Other words from stick

  • stickless, adjective
  • sticklike, adjective

Words Nearby stick

Other definitions for stick (2 of 2)

[ stik ]

verb (used with object),stuck, stick·ing.
  1. to pierce or puncture with something pointed, as a pin, dagger, or spear; stab: to stick one's finger with a needle.

  2. to kill by this means: to stick a pig.

  1. to thrust (something pointed) in, into, through, etc.: to stick a needle into a pincushion.

  2. to fasten in position by thrusting a point or end into something: to stick a peg in a pegboard.

  3. to fasten in position by or as if by something thrust through: to stick a painting on the wall.

  4. to put on or hold with something pointed; impale: to stick a marshmallow on a fork.

  5. to decorate or furnish with things piercing the surface: to stick a cushion full of pins.

  6. to furnish or adorn with things attached or set here and there: to stick shelves full of knickknacks.

  7. to place upon a stick or pin for exhibit: to stick butterflies.

  8. to thrust or poke into a place or position indicated: to stick one's head out of the window.

  9. to place or set in a specified position; put: Stick the chair in the corner.

  10. to fasten or attach by causing to adhere: to stick a stamp on a letter.

  11. to bring to a standstill; render unable to proceed or go back (usually used in the passive): The car was stuck in the mud.

  12. Carpentry. to start (a nail).

  13. Ceramics. to join (pieces of partially hardened clay) together, using slip as an adhesive.

  14. Chiefly British Informal. to tolerate; endure: He couldn't stick the job more than three days.

  15. to confuse or puzzle; bewilder; perplex; nonplus: He was stuck by the very first problem on the test.

  16. Informal. to impose something disagreeable upon (a person or persons), as a large bill or a difficult task: The committee persistently stuck him with fund collection.

  17. Informal. to cheat.

  18. Slang: Often Vulgar. to go to hell with: often used imperatively.

verb (used without object),stuck, stick·ing.
  1. to have the point piercing or embedded in something: The arrow stuck in the tree.

  2. to remain attached by adhesion.

  1. to hold, cleave, or cling: The young rider stuck to the back of his terrified horse.

  2. to remain persistently or permanently: a fact that sticks in the mind.

  3. to remain firm, as in resolution, opinion, statement, or attachment; hold faithfully, as to a promise or bargain.

  4. to keep or remain steadily or unremittingly, as to a task, undertaking, or the like: to stick to a job until it is finished.

  5. to become fastened, hindered, checked, or stationary by some obstruction: Her zipper stuck halfway up.

  6. to be at a standstill, as from difficulties: I'm stuck on this problem.

  7. to be embarrassed or puzzled; hesitate or scruple (usually followed by at).

  8. to be thrust or placed so as to extend, project, or protrude (usually followed by through, from, out, up, etc.).

  1. a thrust with a pointed instrument; stab.

  2. a stoppage or standstill.

  1. something causing delay or difficulty.

  2. the quality of adhering or of causing things to adhere.

  3. something causing adhesion.

Verb Phrases
  1. stick around, Informal. to wait in the vicinity; linger: If you had stuck around, you'd have seen the fireworks.

  2. stick by / to to maintain one's attachment or loyalty to; remain faithful to: They vowed to stick by one another no matter what happened.

  1. stick out, to extend; protrude: Stick out your tongue. Your shirttail is sticking out.

  2. stick up, Informal. to rob, especially at gunpoint: A lone gunman stuck up the gas station.

  3. stick up for, to speak in favor of; come to the defense of; support: She always sticks up for him, even though he doesn't deserve it.

Origin of stick

First recorded before 900; Middle English stiken, stikken, Old English stician “to pierce, thrust”; akin to German stechen “to sting,” Latin -stīg- in instīgāre “to urge, incite,” Greek stízein “to stitch, tattoo, brand”; see also stigma, stitch

synonym study For stick

22. Stick, adhere, cohere mean to cling to or be tightly attached to something. Adhere implies that one kind of material clings tenaciously to another; cohere adds the idea that a thing is attracted to and held by something like itself: Particles of sealing wax cohere and form a mass that will adhere to tin. Stick, a more colloquial and general term, is used particularly when a third kind of material is involved: A gummed label will stick to a package.

Other words for stick

Other words from stick

  • stick·a·ble, adjective
  • stick·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • re·stick·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use stick in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stick (1 of 2)


/ (stɪk) /

  1. a small thin branch of a tree

    • any long thin piece of wood

    • such a piece of wood having a characteristic shape for a special purpose: a walking stick; a hockey stick

    • a baton, wand, staff, or rod

  1. an object or piece shaped like a stick: a stick of celery; a stick of dynamite

  2. informal the lever used to change gear in a motor vehicle

  3. nautical a mast or yard

  4. printing See composing stick

    • a group of bombs arranged to fall at intervals across a target

    • a number of paratroops jumping in sequence

  5. slang

    • verbal abuse, criticism: I got some stick for that blunder

    • physical power, force (esp in the phrase give it some stick)

  6. (usually plural) a piece of furniture: these few sticks are all I have

  7. (plural) informal a rural area considered remote or backward (esp in the phrase in the sticks)

  8. (plural) Canadian West coast and Northwestern Canadian informal the wooded interior part of the country

  9. (plural) hockey a declaration made by the umpire if a player's stick is above the shoulders

  10. (plural) goalposts

  11. US obsolete a cannabis cigarette

  12. a means of coercion

  13. informal a dull boring person

  14. (usually preceded by old) informal a familiar name for a person: not a bad old stick

  15. in a cleft stick in a difficult position

  16. wrong end of the stick a complete misunderstanding of a situation, explanation, etc

verbsticks, sticking or sticked
  1. to support (a plant) with sticks; stake

Origin of stick

Old English sticca; related to Old Norse stikka, Old High German stecca

British Dictionary definitions for stick (2 of 2)


/ (stɪk) /

verbsticks, sticking or stuck
  1. (tr) to pierce or stab with or as if with something pointed

  2. to thrust or push (a sharp or pointed object) or (of a sharp or pointed object) to be pushed into or through another object

  1. (tr) to fasten in position by pushing or forcing a point into something: to stick a peg in a hole

  2. (tr) to fasten in position by or as if by pins, nails, etc: to stick a picture on the wall

  3. (tr) to transfix or impale on a pointed object

  4. (tr) to cover with objects piercing or set in the surface

  5. (when intr, foll by out, up, through, etc) to put forward or be put forward; protrude or cause to protrude: to stick one's head out of the window

  6. (tr) informal to place or put in a specified position: stick your coat on this chair

  7. to fasten or be fastened by or as if by an adhesive substance: stick the pages together; they won't stick

  8. (tr) informal to cause to become sticky

  9. (when tr, usually passive) to come or cause to come to a standstill: we were stuck for hours in a traffic jam; the wheels stuck

  10. (intr) to remain for a long time: the memory sticks in my mind

  11. (tr) slang, mainly British to tolerate; abide: I can't stick that man

  12. (intr) to be reluctant

  13. (tr; usually passive) informal to cause to be at a loss; baffle, puzzle, or confuse: I was totally stuck for an answer

  14. (tr) slang to force or impose something unpleasant on: they stuck me with the bill for lunch

  15. (tr) to kill by piercing or stabbing

  16. stick in one's throat or stick in one's craw informal to be difficult, or against one's conscience, for one to accept, utter, or believe

  17. stick one's nose into See nose (def. 17)

  18. stick to the ribs informal (of food) to be hearty and satisfying

  1. the state or condition of adhering

  2. informal a substance causing adhesion

  1. obsolete something that causes delay or stoppage

Origin of stick

Old English stician; related to Old High German stehhan to sting, Old Norse steikja to roast on a spit

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with stick


In addition to the idioms beginning with stick

  • stick around
  • stick at
  • stick by
  • stick in one's craw
  • stick it
  • stick it to someone
  • stick one's neck out
  • stick out
  • stick to
  • stick together
  • stick to one's guns
  • stick to one's last
  • stick to the ribs
  • stick up
  • stick up for
  • stick with
  • sticky fingers

also see:

  • carrot and stick
  • get on the stick
  • make stick
  • more than one can shake a stick at
  • short end of the stick
  • stand (stick) up for
  • wrong end of the stick

Also see understuck.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.