Definition of sticky in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈstɪki/

adjective (stickier, stickiest)

1Tending or designed to stick to things on contact: sticky cakes and pastries a sticky label
More example sentences
  • In seawater, the expelled tubules lengthen considerably and become sticky upon contact with any object.
  • The sticky boxes are designed to lure their prey with scents of chocolate and other foods.
  • That means the town centre is soiled with around 200,000 sticky stains.
adhesive, adherent, gummed
rare tenacious
1.1(Of a substance) glutinous; viscous: the dough should be moist but not sticky
More example sentences
  • And these are enzymes that make up a gluey, sticky substance, known as glucan, and the bacteria make this from sugar.
  • When an egg is laid it is covered by a sticky substance that glues the egg firmly to any surface on which it is laid, irrespective of whether it is an adult bug or a plant.
  • Some of the sticky substance stuck on her shoe and she grimaced in disgust.
glutinous, viscous, viscid;
gluey, tacky, gummy, treacly, syrupy;
British  claggy;
Scottish & Northern English  clarty
informal gooey, gloopy, cloggy, gungy, icky
North American informal gloppy
rare viscoid
1.2(Of prices, interest rates, or wages) slow to change or react to change.
Example sentences
  • Such sticky prices in the presence of an increase in the money supply then result in increased real demand.
  • Inflation helps the economy deal with sticky wages and prices.
  • The presence of nonmarket forces, such as regulations, sticky wages, or tradition, may weaken competition.
2(Of the weather) hot and humid; muggy: it was an unusually hot and sticky summer
More example sentences
  • If the weather is sticky, it is humid and not particularly pleasant.
  • In an open-neck blue shirt, crisp denim jeans, brown suede shoes, and carrying a denim jacket, he is ideally dressed for the sticky weather.
  • Hot, sticky weather such as that we have been having for the last few days simply adds to stress, says Mrs Clarke - and makes it more likely that we will flare out of control.
humid, muggy, close, sultry, sweltering, steamy, oppressive, airless, stifling, suffocating, sweaty, soupy, like a Turkish bath, like a sauna
2.1Damp with sweat: she felt hot and sticky and changed her clothes
More example sentences
  • Perhaps it was a sensation crystallised by the potent mix of sun and alcohol, and sweat cooled onto a sticky back.
  • They left the room and he pulled off the sticky, damp shirt.
  • When they are sweating and get sticky, I just open up the harness zipper.
3 informal Involving problems; difficult or awkward: the relationship is going through a sticky patch
More example sentences
  • Don't expect too much and make sure you don't get into any sticky situations.
  • Junk bonds roared back into favour in the USA during the 1990s but the market has since hit a sticky patch.
  • Time will come, one day, when you find yourself in a very sticky situation.
awkward, difficult, tricky, ticklish, problematic, delicate, touch-and-go, embarrassing, sensitive, uncomfortable
informal hairy
4(Of a website or its content) attracting a long visit or repeat visits from users: make your site as sticky as possible to keep visitors there longer more and more often, web designers focus on the need to add sticky features to their sites
More example sentences
  • By definition, search engine results aren't sticky: you're on your way somewhere else.
  • Page views are a good indication of how sticky your website is.
  • To make your website stickier you can add a few simple interactive applications like site polls, surveys, a guest book, and an event calendar.
4.1(Of a thread in an online forum) set to remain at the top of the other threads regardless of when it was last updated: a sticky thread is now live on the forum
More example sentences
  • I wish we had sticky threads, or maybe just a little new poster section.
  • Have we ever had sticky threads, I can't remember?
  • It's been my long held opinion that we could get huge benefits from sticky threads for this sort of thing, should it become technically possible to implement.
4.2 informal Long-lasting or persistent: his new nickname has proved to be surprisingly sticky
More example sentences
  • With the really sticky ideas, a company has told a story to people throughout the company and beyond, so that employees can make the right decisions on their own.
  • Trinidad has a very rich history and culture which has proven to be sticky in an ever changing modern world.
  • There have been several failed attempts at advertising systems for online content, but some more recent methods have proven to be sticky.

noun (plural stickies)

1A piece of paper with an adhesive strip on one side, used for leaving messages or reminders.
Example sentences
  • Perfect pictures of sunny days, birthday parties and proms, of boyfriends, girlfriends and parents all hamming it up for the camera were as abundant as the yellow stickies that plastered his desk back at the precinct.
  • I certainly needed my deck of yellow stickies to flag her intelligent illustrations, but I found it all quite manageable because she writes so well.
  • Handling problems and dealing with a nonstop barrage of calls is probably more than can be efficiently handled by a few yellow stickies.
2(In an online forum) a thread containing important information that is set to remain at the top of the other threads regardless of when it was last updated: could you put a sticky in the forum for those of us that are confused?
More example sentences
  • The Mint Forum has a number of stickies explaining how to configure Mint using familiar terms from the config files of your favorite blogging software.
  • Since it's been suggested there were too many stickies at the top of the forum, I'm going to add a layer of indirection and replace them with this thread.
  • Should "Loop Back Test Instructions" be made into a sticky?



come to a sticky end

see end.

sticky fingers

informal A propensity to steal.
Example sentences
  • Oh, I enjoying firing people when I catch them with sticky fingers, stealing.
  • And I think most Americans don't want politicians' sticky fingers going through their tax returns.
  • And we have had a spot of bother with sticky fingers as well.

a sticky wicket

see wicket.



Pronunciation: /ˈstɪkɪli/
Example sentences
  • I'm drooping in the oppressive heat, but Binoche is fresh-faced and crisply unaffected, her impossibly glamorous shoes tucked neatly beneath her, perky and upright as we sprawl stickily in the leather seats.
  • In reality this blood which still oozes out stickily, is the red sap of the tree.
  • They slid down her face stickily, and she didn't brush them away.


Pronunciation: /ˈstɪkɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • So that's how I spent the afternoon - gently devouring sweet red hearts on a sunny Sunday afternoon, savouring the stickiness - I can think of many worse ways to spend my time.
  • ‘When you have very finely milled starch and sugar together the effect on teeth can be worse than sugar, perhaps because of the stickiness,’ he said.
  • Yesterday, with both hands covered in stickiness and occupied cutting the wax capping from the top of the honeycomb, a lump of wax containing honey flew onto my leg and started running down in a nasty tickly way.

Words that rhyme with sticky

brickie, Dickie, hickey, icky, mickey, Nicky, picky, quickie, rickey, Rikki, sickie, tricky, Vicky

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sticky

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.