There are 2 main definitions of stick in English:

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stick 1

Pronunciation: /stɪk/


1A thin piece of wood that has fallen or been cut off a tree.
Example sentences
  • Hayes picked up a fallen stick and twirled it idly between his fingers.
  • Vito was pacing back and forth impatiently, while carrying a long stick from a tree and just whipping it around the air, making that whish sound.
  • He pulled the reins to the side yanking a stick from the tree.
piece of wood, twig, small branch
cane, pole, beanpole, post, stake, upright, rod
1.1A long, thin piece of wood used for support in walking or as a weapon.
Example sentences
  • Pam walked the course in about an hour using a stick for support because just a week ago she underwent an operation to remove her gall bladder.
  • She is on morphine, walks with a stick and needs a gall bladder operation.
  • A motorist walked with a stick as he took the stand at an inquest to describe a crash that left another driver dead.
Australian/New Zealand  waddy
cane, birch, switch, rod;
Indian  lathi, danda;
South African  kierie, knobkerrie
British informal cosh
1.2(In hockey, polo, and other games) a long, thin implement, typically made of wood, with a curved head or angled blade that is used to hit or direct the ball or puck.
Example sentences
  • Hockey pucks and sticks are put away in favor of basketballs and baseballs.
  • The man should not be playing a game that involves sticks and blades.
  • Though the majority of players use one-piece sticks, the curve of the blade still often requires work.
1.3 (sticks) (In field hockey) the foul play of raising the stick above the shoulder.
1.4 [usually with modifier] A short, thin piece of wood used to impale food: lolly sticks
More example sentences
  • She strikes me as a no-nonsense gal, the sort of English rose, raised on tea and hockey, who'd be calm in a crisis and know how to make splints out of ice lolly sticks.
  • If I were working on a larger scale I'd use a wooden lolly stick, sharpened appropriately, and dipped into Indian Ink.
  • I used to sneak outside with a lolly stick and help them climb back out.
1.5 (the sticks) informal Goalposts or cricket stumps.
Example sentences
  • But when it really mattered, and with an air of anticipation filling the ground, Benn calmly slotted the ball straight between the sticks from the left touchline.
  • Goddard, the man with the magic touch, could do no wrong and sent the ball straight between the sticks from the touchline.
  • Other clubs in the top division are not having the same crises of confidence between the sticks where there is an undisputed number one.
1.6 Nautical , archaic A mast or spar.
1.7A piece of basic furniture: every stick of furniture just vanished
More example sentences
  • We don't have a sofa, a coffee table, a mirror, a desk - not a stick of furniture to call our own.
  • ‘Ceilings have collapsed, floors have been damaged and there is not a stick of furniture anywhere,’ Hine says.
  • His inability to lie means that he has trouble selling a stick of furniture in his position as a salesman with the Jack Jones Office Furniture Company.
2Something resembling or likened to a stick, in particular:
2.1A long, thin piece of something: a stick of dynamite cinnamon sticks
More example sentences
  • From his other bag, where he kept the food, he took a few sticks of cinnamon, a grater, and several apples.
  • There are, of course, a few sticks of gum, and I pop one in my mouth as I walk out the room.
  • Sheesh, anyone would think those were real sticks of dynamite…
2.2Used to refer to a very thin person or limb: the girl was a stick her arms were like sticks
More example sentences
  • His legs are like sticks, and it's hard to imagine how they will ever function properly again.
  • They've got these big lollipop heads and tiny little bodies that look like sticks.
  • The thighs are like sticks, shiny and straight.
2.3 [as modifier] (Of a figure) drawn with short, thin, straight lines: stick drawings of a man and girl
More example sentences
  • He had drawn little stick figures of the class without knowing it.
  • All the others were drawing peace symbols and stick figures with clothes holding hands over the earth in the background.
  • But with God as my witness, I found that I was incapable of drawing convincing stick figures.
2.4A conductor’s baton.
2.5A gear or control lever.
Example sentences
  • We kept losing the gears - the stick would come off in your hand in 4th and you'd have to make it home like that.
  • The design is almost exactly as a million schoolboys imagine it - arms with control sticks come out from the pack and fit under my own.
  • The pilot does so and lets go of the control sticks.
2.6US A quarter-pound pack of butter or margarine.
Example sentences
  • Without measuring, Madeline got out a bowl and added lots of yeast, plus flour, sugar, a stick or so of butter, and quite a few eggs.
  • I pictured the insides of his refrigerator being nothing but an expired carton of orange juice and a stick of butter.
  • I used 1 1/4 sticks butter and that was enough to hold the bread crumbs and nuts together.
2.7A number of bombs or paratroopers dropped rapidly from an aircraft: the sticks of bombs rained down
More example sentences
  • Before she had a chance to sip away she was herself attacked by the supply ship's escorts and supporting aircraft, at least one of which dropped a stick of bombs.
  • But the art of this two-track war is more than offering a care-package carrot in lieu of a stick of iron bombs.
2.8A small group of soldiers assigned to a particular duty: a stick of heavily armed guards
3A threat of punishment or unwelcome measures (often contrasted with the offer of reward as a means of persuasion): training that relies more on the carrot than on the stick Compare with carrot (sense 3).
More example sentences
  • The carrot and the stick, rewards and punishments, are the most effective ways of training animals and humans.
  • If car makers don't agree to move quickly, Kerry could pull out the stick: the threat of higher fuel-economy standards.
  • Heaven, of course, is the carrot offered against the stick.
3.1 [mass noun] British informal Severe criticism or treatment: I took a lot of stick from the press
More example sentences
  • They normally come in for a lot of stick and criticism from the public.
  • I got some severe stick for that, mostly from people who don't take the trouble to read carefully and think about the words.
  • We got quite a lot of stick when we first moved there.
criticism, flak, censure, reproach, reproof, condemnation, castigation, chastisement, blame, abuse;
informal a bashing, a roasting, a caning, an earful, a bawling-out
British informal verbal, a rollicking, a wigging, a rocket, a row
British vulgar slang a bollocking
4 (the sticks) informal, derogatory Rural areas far from cities or civilization: he felt hard done by living out in the sticks
More example sentences
  • If it were out in the sticks, in a provincial town, this place would do a roaring trade.
  • In this particular collection he tells the story of a young boy who moves to Astro City from out in the sticks, and ends up becoming a sidekick to a superhero, The Confessor.
  • True, possibly, though my experience of living out in the sticks is that the emergency services are geared to coping adequately with the distances.
the country, the countryside, the provinces, rural districts, the backwoods, the back of beyond, the wilds, the hinterland, a backwater;
North American  the backcountry, the backland;
Australian/New Zealand  the backblocks, the booay;
South African  the backveld, the platteland
informal the middle of nowhere
North American informal the boondocks, the boonies, the tall timbers
Australian/New Zealand informal Woop Woop, beyond the black stump
5 [with adjective] informal, dated A person of a specified kind: Janet’s not such a bad old stick sometimes
More example sentences
  • The implication is that he wasn't such a bad old stick.
  • So stop acting like a dried-up old stick and get with the program.
  • I would like to have found him a wordly-wise old stick, full of reminiscence and able to paint vivid sketches of great men and great occasions.
6 Stock Market A large quantity of unsold stock, especially the proportion of shares which must be taken up by underwriters after an unsuccessful issue.



over the sticks

Horse Racing In steeplechasing and hurdles: he gives Folk Dance his seasonal debut over the sticks
More example sentences
  • Arkle without reservation is the greatest horse ever over the sticks.
  • Gibson, who was deputising for the injured Tony Dobbin, got the gelding settled early on and he made a very satisfactory start over the sticks after ending last season with a five-length win in an Ayr bumper.
  • Runners are scarce over the sticks at Hexham tomorrow, which is a common problem at present because National Hunt trainers are reluctant to run their horses until the ground eases.

sticks and stones may break my bones but names (or words) will never hurt me

proverb Used to express indifference to an insult or abuse: all that flies back and forth, really, is words—sticks and stones, y’know?
More example sentences
  • If anyone ever tells you that little rhyme ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,’ well tell them they are full of it.
  • We say things like ‘actions speak louder than words’, or ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’.
  • But the child's nursery rhyme is true: sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

up the stick

British informal Pregnant.

up sticks

British informal Go to live elsewhere.
From nautical slang to up sticks 'set up a boat's mast' (ready for departure)
Example sentences
  • We've all wanted to do it - up sticks and live in the sun.
  • No, the only answer is to up sticks and go elsewhere.
  • In between, of course, is the story of these truly remarkable artists and how they spurned dancefloor smash after dancefloor smash, year upon year, until the record company bosses upped sticks and fled to L.A., in 1972.



Example sentences
  • In the background there were two unicorns; one was full grown and the other (with slender almost sticklike legs) looked to be half a season old.
  • Painted on the wall is a succession of sticklike human figures, clearly in full running stride.
  • His robes, loosely draped around his tall but sticklike figure, were trimmed in silver-blue and stood impossibly white among the sand and dirt.


Old English sticca 'peg, stick, spoon', of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch stek 'cutting from a plant' and German Stecken 'staff, stick'.

  • The two English words spelled stick are both Old English. The noun, ‘a thin piece of wood’, and the verb, meaning ‘to push something pointed into’ and ‘to cling, adhere’, are probably connected, with the basic idea being one of piercing or pricking. If a person comes to a sticky end they meet a nasty death or other fate. The phrase is first found in a 1904 account of a US baseball game, and by 1916 had made its way to Britain. See also wicket, wrong

Words that rhyme with stick

artic, brick, chick, click, crick, flick, hand-pick, hic, hick, kick, lick, mick, miskick, nick, pic, pick, quick, rick, shtick, sic, sick, slick, snick, thick, tic, tick, trick, Vic, wick

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: stick

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There are 2 main definitions of stick in English:

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stick 2

Pronunciation: /stɪk/

verb (past and past participle stuck /stʌk/)

1 [with object] (stick something in/into/through) Push a sharp or pointed object into or through (something): he stuck his fork into the sausage she stuck her finger in his eye
More example sentences
  • I grabbed my water bottle, stuck my finger in to wet it, and then dripped a small amount on my arm.
  • She glanced over at the small burning candle near and stuck her finger in the wax.
  • She destroyed my collages and stuck sharp objects through my notebooks when Susannah and me weren't around to stop her, which wasn't often, but often enough.
1.1 (stick something on) Fix something on (a point or pointed object): stick the balls of wool on knitting needles
More example sentences
  • His men decapitated an opposition fighter's corpse and stuck his head on a post as a warning.
  • By the time they reach their teens, the kids will probably have exhumed my body and stuck my head on a pike.
  • The recruitment sergeant reputedly stuck a havercake on the top of his bayonet as an enticement for the tykes to enlist.
1.2 [no object] (stick in/into/through) (Of a pointed object) be or remain fixed with its point embedded in (something): there was a slim rod sticking into the ground beside me
More example sentences
  • When they are extricated, one of them is unconscious and has a steel rod sticking into his temple.
  • Little flags on sticks, stuck into the ground around a tree where an informal memorial had been created by visitors.
  • It came back down and stuck into the ground right between them.
1.3Stab or pierce with a sharp object: (as adjective stuck) he screamed like a stuck pig
More example sentences
  • If you stick a pig it squeals.
  • I was in the country and was entirely occupied with running down hares, and sticking salmon.
2 [with object and adverbial] Insert, thrust, or push: a youth with a cigarette stuck behind one ear she stuck out her tongue at him
More example sentences
  • The girl stuck the cigarette behind her ear like a pen, and pocketed the lighter.
  • I reached into my backpack to get a pen, and stuck it behind my ear.
  • I stuck my tongue out behind her back, chuckling to myself.
2.1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Protrude or extend in a certain direction: his front teeth stick out Sue’s hair was sticking up at all angles
More example sentences
  • Her blonde hair was messy, sticking up in all directions.
  • His short hair was now messy, sticking up in different directions.
  • There were boards with nails sticking up everywhere.
overhang, beetle
informal be goofy
2.2 [with object and adverbial of place] Put somewhere, typically in a quick or careless way: just stick that sandwich on my desk
More example sentences
  • We stuck our shoes on and went out the back to the car.
  • The waitress set down a small gas range on the table, stuck an oiled tray on top, and poured on a mixture of greens and spicy chicken.
  • You've turned up the heating, you've stuck an extra sweatshirt on, and still you're shivering.
leave, stow
informal dump, bung, park, plonk, pop
North American informal plunk
2.3 informal Used to express angry dismissal: he told them they could stick the job—he didn’t want it anyway
More example sentences
  • Then got angry and told him where he could stick his job, and put the phone down, vowing that I was never going to speak to him again.
  • The employer - he really deserves to be named - was told in the crudest language possible where to stick the job.
  • She replied that if he really thought that, he could stick his job.
2.4 informal Cause to incur an expense or loss: she stuck me for last month’s rent
More example sentences
  • They have stuck me for $50.
  • He stuck me for thousands of dollars.
  • They're sticking him for $2 grand, baselessly claiming it's his fault.
3 [no object] Adhere or cling to something: the plastic seats stuck to my skin if you heat the noodles in the microwave, they tend to stick together
More example sentences
  • I later found a few stuck on my clothes, clinging to the wet sleeves of my shirt.
  • I push my hair back to find sweat clinging to my brow and realise my shirt is sticking against my skin.
  • When the saliva flow is reduced, food particles tend to stick on or between tooth surfaces.
adhere, cling, be fixed, be glued
remain, stay, linger, dwell, persist, continue, last, endure
3.1 [with object and adverbial of place] Fasten or cause to adhere to something: she stuck the stamp on the envelope
More example sentences
  • I am about to stick a 1st class stamp on the envelope when I have the nagging feeling that it might weigh more than the 60g maximum.
  • He then asked if he could borrow some tape to stick some papers together.
  • Alternatively, you could cover the outside of the vase in double-sided adhesive tape, then stick large leaves vertically around it.
3.2 informal Be or become convincing, established, or regarded as valid: the authorities couldn’t make the charges stick the name stuck and Anastasia she remained
More example sentences
  • The name stuck; soon came a website, and 4000 members.
  • The advert was soon forgotten, but the name stuck.
  • The captain named the house the Retreat, but the name never stuck and by 1853 it was known as St David's.
be upheld, hold, be believed, gain credence, be regarded as valid
informal hold water
3.3(In pontoon and similar card games) decline to add to one’s hand.
Example sentences
  • When you have split your hand, you play the two hands one after the other - once you have stuck or gone bust on the first hand you play the second one.
  • In card games, the quandary is often whether to stick or twist.
4 (be/get stuck) Be fixed in a particular position or unable to move or be moved: Sara tried to open the window but it was stuck we got stuck in a traffic jam the cat’s stuck up a tree
More example sentences
  • My mind and body screamed at me but I was stuck, unable to move.
  • Barton Swing Bridge at Eccles was stuck in the open position yesterday after the high temperatures caused metal to expand.
  • You've been stuck in the same position for so long that you're a little cramped up.
4.1 [no object] Be or become fixed or jammed as a result of an obstruction: he drove into a bog, where his wheels stuck fast
More example sentences
  • While practicing on one of them, he noticed that mechanics of one of the keys, a high C, had gotten stuck, emitting a fixed drone.
  • The ship struck the Tricolor at 7.30 yesterday evening and became stuck fast.
  • Right in front of me, just below the ledge, is a second chockstone the size of a large bus tire, stuck fast in the three-foot channel between the walls.
become trapped, become jammed, jam, catch, become wedged, become lodged, become fixed, become embedded, become immobilized, become unable to move, get bogged down
4.2 (be/get stuck) Be unable to progress with a task or find the answer or solution to something: I’m doing the crossword and I’ve got stuck
More example sentences
  • On the train back, Steve and I raced each other to do the puzzles in consecutive issues of Metro, but I'm hopeless at crosswords and got stuck on mine after two clues.
  • Should one get stuck on a puzzle, before looking at the solution there is the option of consulting the hints section.
  • My brother in law, who fancies himself as a bit of a genius at crosswords had a go and got stuck.
4.3 [no object] Remain in a static condition; fail to progress: he lost a lot of weight but had stuck at 15 stone
More example sentences
  • But the play ultimately fails, stuck somewhere between limp satire and B-grade existentialism.
  • Hospital consultants have been accused of deliberately failing to tell patients stuck on waiting lists that they are entitled to free treatment elsewhere.
  • Competition is keen in this particular category as it is an industry stuck firmly in the 1950s.
4.4 [with adverbial of place] (be stuck) informal Be or remain in a specified place or situation, typically one perceived as tedious or unpleasant: I don’t want to be stuck in an office all my life
More example sentences
  • Amazingly I found myself laughing along with the group, even if the only reason I remained was because I was stuck at the far end with no escape.
  • Fortunately he fancied the river, as it had been blazing sunshine all day and I was sick of being stuck indoors.
  • I am so sick of being stuck indoors or running from heating building to car to next heated building.
4.5 (be stuck for) Be at a loss for or in need of: I’m not usually stuck for words
More example sentences
  • Lea was stuck for what to do next - she could go home, stay at my place (I offered her my bed, I was going to sleep on the floor) or go to her parent's place.
  • Basically I was stuck for what to call this.
  • If Cavan County Council gives Quinn the go-ahead to demolish his house, he won't be stuck for somewhere to stay.
4.6 (be stuck with) informal Be unable to get rid of or escape from: like it or not, she and Grant were stuck with each other
More example sentences
  • They were stuck with around 1,000 dumped refrigerators they could not dispose of.
  • The town is stuck with the same old ramshackle building.
  • Lots of the doubt and anxiety I've been stuck with over the last few months has disappeared completely.
4.7 (be stuck on) informal Be infatuated with: he’s too good for Jenny, even though she’s so stuck on him
More example sentences
  • She's been very direct with him, tried everything she can think of, but he's completely stuck on her.
  • He never wants to lead me on, but because of that, I’m stuck on him.
  • I am really stuck on him and my heart is entirely dedicated to him.
infatuated with, besotted with, smitten with, in love with, head over heels in love with, hopelessly in love with, obsessed with, enamoured of, very attracted to, very taken with, devoted to, charmed by, captivated by, enchanted by, enthralled by, bewitched by, beguiled by, under someone's spell
informal bowled over by, swept off one's feet by, struck on, crazy about, mad about, wild about, potty about, very keen on, gone on, sweet on, into, carrying a torch for
5 [often with negative] British informal Accept or tolerate (an unpleasant or unwelcome person or situation): I can’t stick Geoffrey—he’s a real old misery
More example sentences
  • If you really can't stick him and you really don't want him anywhere near your big day, it might be worth upsetting her a little bit.
  • ‘I can't stick it any longer,’ he wrote.
  • I really can't stick her.
5.1 (stick it out) informal Put up with or persevere with something difficult or disagreeable: I decided to stick it out for another couple of years
More example sentences
  • But working in television can also be exciting, different and ultimately rewarding - if you stick it out and stay determined.
  • He told his wife he would stay and stick it out.
  • I stuck it out until Sunday, when breathing became difficult.
put up with it, grin and bear it, keep at it, keep going, stay with it, see it through, see it through to the end;
persevere, persist, carry on, struggle on
informal hang in there, soldier on, tough it out, peg away, plug away, bash on



get stuck in (or into)

British informal Start doing (something) with enthusiasm or determination: we got stuck into the decorating
More example sentences
  • Our performance last night was a massive improvement on last week, the boys got stuck in and you can't fault their commitment.
  • Parents stay to give their children encouragement and often got stuck in to the work too if there are enough spare materials.
  • The students really got stuck in and the way they responded showed in these exam results.
informal have a crack at, have a go at
formal commence

stick at nothing

Allow nothing to deter one from achieving one’s aim, however wrong or dishonest: he would stick at nothing to preserve his privileges
More example sentences
  • She will stick at nothing to achieve her ambitions.
  • He was resolved to stick at nothing for the securing and advancing of his honour and power.
  • Against a class of men who themselves stuck at nothing, everything was held to be permissible.

stick 'em up!

informal Hands up! (spoken by a person threatening someone else with a gun).
Example sentences
  • ‘Stick 'em up,’ he rasped as he approached from behind.
  • ‘Stick 'em up!’ they yelled in unison.
  • ‘Stick 'em up,’ she said. He did. ‘Take off the jacket, real slow.’

stick fat

Australian /NZ informal
Remain loyal and faithful: we’re going to have to stick fat in this tough period he’s stuck fat with the cricket club
More example sentences
  • Grant stuck fat until he decided his job was better off without it!
  • We've had a lot of problems but they've stuck fat with us and our players want to give back.
  • Supporters simply had to stick fat through the bad times.

stick in one's mind (or memory)

Be remembered clearly and for a long time: one particular incident sticks in my mind
More example sentences
  • Despite the findings of official American investigations, however, the rallying cries stick in our minds.
  • I see nothing improbable in such an important matter for Orion sticking in his memory.
  • The hum of the bombers is stuck in my mind.

stick in one's throat (or craw)

(Of words) be difficult or impossible to say: she couldn’t say ‘Thank you’—the words stuck in her throat
More example sentences
  • We looked around the candle-lit garden, further words sticking in my throat.
  • I blinked in response as the words stuck in my throat.
  • He wished he could say more, but the words just stuck in his throat.
6.1Be difficult or impossible to accept: the thing that sticks in your throat is that we were successful and you weren’t
More example sentences
  • One thing that stuck in my throat at Chelsea was young players not realising how privileged they were to be earning huge sums.
  • It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics.
  • Several things about this turn of events stuck in my craw.

stick it to

informal, chiefly North American Treat harshly or severely.
Example sentences
  • In a closed meeting, he stuck it to the Internet gambling site's rep and lawyer, by threatening to go to the press with the fact they let a minor run up so much debt.
  • Nor would I have known that there are people who think they're sticking it to the man by getting paid 90 bucks an hour to dive into a radioactive-materials storage pool and clean it.
  • So file sharers should remember that they're not just sticking it to the record companies; they're sticking it to the folks who actually buy their music.

stick one (or it) on

British informal Hit (someone).
Example sentences
  • He was first recorded as stating that he had ‘stuck one on’ Mr Dixon, but later claimed he had just pushed him.
  • We were much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to stick one on the president.
  • I think there's every chance he could go back to the Manchester United training ground and stick one on his old team mate.

stick one's neck out

informal Risk incurring criticism or anger by acting or speaking boldly.
Example sentences
  • These writings revealed a first-rate sensibility, a critic ready to stick his neck out and make the necessary judgments, sometimes with acerbity, often with a humorous irony.
  • Why stick your neck out when you run the risk of offending someone who has the power to slate your most recent journal article, provide a damning review of your book, or leave you off a shortlist?
  • As I half anticipated, he did not wish to stick his neck out and implicitly criticise rugby.

stick out a mile

see mile.

stick out like a sore thumb

see sore.

stick to one's guns

see gun.

stick to one's ribs

(Of food) be filling and nourishing: a bowl of soup that will stick to your ribs
More example sentences
  • Because they had to do hard manual work from early till late, they needed good food that would stick to their ribs.
  • It was the kind with the thin noodles, and not the thick ones that stick to your ribs, which you need when you've been as sick as I have lately.
  • It's also the sheer size of the cakes that makes them stick to your ribs (and thighs, abs, and hips).

Phrasal verbs


stick around

informal Remain in or near a place: I’d like to stick around and watch the game
More example sentences
  • While I contentedly stuck around, his seat remained empty after intermission.
  • I knew I could have just stuck around and hung out with him for a bit.
  • The tournament was almost over, so we just stuck around and watched the rest of it.

stick at

informal Persevere with (a task or endeavour) in a determined way: I’m the type to stick at something even if it gets on top of me
More example sentences
  • They stuck at their task and caused one of the best nations in world football a lot of problems.
  • In stifling heat this was never going to be a vigorous or vibrant game, but we stuck at our task with discipline and brave reserves of energy.
  • And we're going to be successful because the president is absolutely determined to stick at it.
persevere with, persist with, keep at, work at, continue with, carry on with, go on with, not give up with, hammer away at, stay with, see/follow through, go the distance, stay the course
informal soldier on with, stick it out, hang in there, put one's back into

stick by

1Continue to support or be loyal to (someone), typically during difficult times: I love him and whatever happens I’ll stick by him
More example sentences
  • I am thrilled that our supporters are sticking by us as they seem to realise the predicament we are all facing.
  • Twelve years she had stuck by me, supporting me when I was at my worst.
  • There's a whole platoon of people sticking by you and giving support.
support, stand by, be loyal to, remain faithful to, be supportive of, be on someone's side, side with, back, defend
2Adhere to (a commitment, belief, or rule): I will stick by my promise to help them raise funds

stick something on

informal Place the blame for a mistake or wrongdoing on (someone).
Example sentences
  • They figured he was the youngest one, so they would stick it on him.
  • Like every other industry the execs would like to stick the blame on junior employees for screw ups and take credit for the successes.
  • Usually, they stuck the blame on the wrong person and never did a damn thing about the root cause.

stick out

Be extremely noticeable: many important things had happened to him, but one stuck out
More example sentences
  • The song stuck out amongst all the racket on TV, the big noisy box in the corner.
  • I got her latest record and that song really stuck out to me - it sounded like an old folk song.
  • He added that the incident still stuck out firmly in his mind and that nothing he had been involved in since could get close to it.
stand out, be noticeable, be conspicuous, be obvious, catch the eye, be obtrusive

stick out for

Refuse to accept less than (what one has asked for): they offered him a Rover but Vic stuck out for a Jaguar
More example sentences
  • It was a storytelling imperative that made the director stick out for at least two films.
  • We should get £300 a week now without any strings or job losses, and that's what I want to see the union sticking out for.
  • They are determined to stick out for £5.53 an hour and for a guaranteed end to the two-tier workforce.

stick to

1Continue or confine oneself to doing or using (a particular thing): I’ll stick to bitter lemon, thanks
More example sentences
  • He has continued his policy of sticking to predominantly French riders for his team.
  • Economic activity was his forte, and had he stayed in Sudan he could have stuck to that.
  • And, why do they not follow where the interview goes instead of sticking to their boring prepared questions.
1.1Not move or digress from (a path or a subject): we stuck close to the paths let’s stick to the facts
More example sentences
  • He said the council had placed clear signs on all its footpaths advising people to stick to marked paths and to avoid all contact with livestock.
  • But even if you stick to the cycle paths you are not necessarily safe.
  • Travellers should stick to prescribed paths and not even contemplate wading through cultivated land.
2Adhere to (a commitment, belief, or rule): the government stuck to their election pledges
More example sentences
  • Throughout his captivity the guards stuck to the rules.
  • The Mayor angrily stuck to his belief that if the council took over the playground, it could be insured.
  • Through the decades he has stuck to his beliefs and spoken his mind.
abide by, keep, adhere to, hold to, fulfil, make good

stick together

informal Remain united or mutually loyal: we Europeans must stick together
More example sentences
  • Mutually relieved to find a friend, we stuck together in both class and playtime.
  • I knew that if they all stuck together they would pull it off.
  • But the cast stuck together in Venice, where some of the questioning during a press conference grew nasty.

stick someone/thing up

informal, chiefly North American Rob someone or something at gunpoint: they had served time for sticking up a store in Akron, Ohio
More example sentences
  • He had robbed deliverymen three times over the previous week, sticking them up with a realistic-looking pellet gun.
  • When a carload of masked bandits tried to stick up the Bank of Millington on March 8, 1929, bank employees switched on an alarm.
  • A man who tried to stick up a liquor store is now sitting in a jail cell.

stick up for

Support or defend (a person or cause): they pick on her and she won’t stick up for herself
More example sentences
  • It's like I don't even know who I'm sticking up for sometimes, who's side I should really be on.
  • He stuck up for those that were helpless to defend themselves.
  • The friend, whom I'd stuck up for, did a deal with the police: he agreed to give evidence against me in return for being let off.
support, give one's support to, take the side of, side with, be on the side of, stand by, stand up for, take someone's part, be supportive of, be loyal to, defend, come to the defence of, champion, speak up for, fight for

stick with

1Persevere or continue with: I’m happy to stick with the present team
More example sentences
  • Despite the clay surface, he continues to stick with his serve-and-volley game.
  • Many are happy to stick with routine tasks others might find dull.
  • More adventurous investors may be happy to stick with their tech funds given the improved outlook for the sector.
2 another way of saying stick by.
Example sentences
  • But the parish council's highways committee stuck with its decision to name it St Nicholas Close.
  • ‘Those who have stuck with me will be the ones who will benefit in the future,’ he says.
  • In any event, we're grateful to be back in business, and grateful that you stuck with us.


Old English stician, of Germanic origin; related to German sticken 'embroider', from an Indo-European root shared by Greek stizein 'to prick', stigma 'a mark' and Latin instigare 'spur on'. Early senses included 'pierce' and 'remain fixed (by its embedded pointed end').

  • The two English words spelled stick are both Old English. The noun, ‘a thin piece of wood’, and the verb, meaning ‘to push something pointed into’ and ‘to cling, adhere’, are probably connected, with the basic idea being one of piercing or pricking. If a person comes to a sticky end they meet a nasty death or other fate. The phrase is first found in a 1904 account of a US baseball game, and by 1916 had made its way to Britain. See also wicket, wrong

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