• synonyms


[stik-uh l]
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verb (used without object), stick·led, stick·ling.
  1. to argue or haggle insistently, especially on trivial matters.
  2. to raise objections; scruple; demur.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged 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.

    Jennie Baxter, Journalist

    Robert Barr

  • 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.


    Benjamin Disraeli

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

British Dictionary definitions for stickle


verb (intr)
  1. to dispute stubbornly, esp about minor points
  2. to refuse to agree or concur, esp by making petty stipulations
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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