adjective, stick·i·er, stick·i·est.

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 stick·ies.

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 formsstick·i·ly, adverbstick·i·ness, nounnon·stick·y, adjectiveun·stick·y, adjective

Synonyms for sticky Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for stickiness

wetness, dampness, adhesion, fusion, adhesiveness

Examples from the Web for stickiness

Historical Examples of stickiness

  • Knead this dough until it is soft and elastic, and free from stickiness.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for stickiness


adjective stickier or stickiest

covered or daubed with an adhesive or viscous substancesticky 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 painfula sticky business
US informal sentimental
(of a website) encouraging users to visit repeatedly

verb stickies, stickying or stickied

(tr) informal to make sticky

noun plural stickies Australian informal

short for stickybeak
an inquisitive look or stare (esp in the phrase have a sticky at)
Derived Formsstickily, adverbstickiness, 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

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