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

Examples from the Web for sticky

Contemporary Examples of sticky

Historical Examples of sticky

  • And then, when he had slipped his hand back into hers, he had encountered a sticky chocolate!

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • It was too dark to see the color, but I knew from the sticky feeling of it just what it was.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • That dirty little red, moving, sticky object was a human being.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • Here and there something brown and sticky on the leaves caught the scout's eye.

    Pee-wee Harris

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • The street had been transformed into a morass of sticky mud by the storm.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for sticky


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 sticky

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