Main definitions of stick in English

: stick1stick2

stick1

noun

  • 1A thin piece of wood that has fallen or been cut off a tree.

    • ‘After about half a minute or so of searching, he found what he was looking for: a stick fallen from a tree branch.’
    • ‘Hayes picked up a fallen stick and twirled it idly between his fingers.’
    • ‘A few sticks of shaved wood brightened the fire, casting flickering shadows onto the cave walls.’
    • ‘They'd go off looking for fallen sticks - long, thick ones to pile against low-slung branches.’
    • ‘Her clothes were ripped and filthy, and she could feel sticks and leaves stuck in her tangled hair.’
    • ‘He went back into the trees and brought bigger sticks, laying them in the fire.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She then found a medium-sized branch, and using some long, dry grass, she tied some small pieces of wood to the stick.’
    • ‘I left him for a moment and shoved a few sticks of wood into the failing fire.’
    • ‘Once a man stated that his grandfather would spend days in the woods looking for a suitable dogwood stick, dogwood trees not being common on that part of the coast.’
    • ‘He took out his pocket knife and cut a forked stick from a handy tree.’
    • ‘They piled rocks, sticks, and fallen timber to use as walls.’
    • ‘Ada heard the gunshots in the distance, dry and thin as sticks breaking.’
    • ‘It is the sound of sticks being broken for firewood.’
    • ‘Almost all of the buildings are huts, with roofs made out of thin sticks.’
    • ‘All that was there were a few sticks, like tree branches, on the floor, and a couple of rickety benches along two of the walls.’
    • ‘They stood it upright with the help of some remnant pieces of wood, took a stick from the bonfire and lit the fuse before standing back and covering their ears.’
    • ‘She only offered a gracious giggle before kneeling down to gather nearby sticks and branches for firewood.’
    • ‘He pulled the reins to the side yanking a stick from the tree.’
    • ‘With shaking hands you gather twigs and sticks from the firewood basket and coax the last embers of the fire to wake up too.’
    cane, pole, beanpole, post, stake, upright, rod
    piece of wood, twig, small branch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A long, thin piece of wood used for support in walking or as a weapon.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Men armed with sharpened bamboo sticks led the charge.’
      • ‘The sturdy fighters each wielded rattan sticks that resembled police batons.’
      • ‘Although he had lately begun to use a stick on long walks he was clearly on fine form.’
      • ‘During the attack the pensioner, who suffers from heart disease and walks with a stick, was pushed to the ground injuring her knee and thumb.’
      • ‘He also walks with a stick and suffers from several health complaints.’
      • ‘He was walking with a stick and I thought he looked awful and shouldn't have gone back so soon.’
      • ‘She kept up a remarkably active lifestyle despite a leg injury which meant she had to walk with a stick.’
      • ‘They also brought weapons such as sticks and knives and swords.’
      • ‘She had a hunchback, a great misshapen hump of bone on her back, and walked with a stick.’
      • ‘A motorist walked with a stick as he took the stand at an inquest to describe a crash that left another driver dead.’
      • ‘The moment the men come close, they raise their sticks and attack them.’
      • ‘Then, as the circle of guards got tighter, she realized there was a six-foot long, wood stick lying on the ground, halfway buried in the dirt.’
      • ‘He had to be taught how to talk and walk all over again - and even now he has to walk with a stick.’
      • ‘She is on morphine, walks with a stick and needs a gall bladder operation.’
      • ‘The father of four can only walk with a stick and uses a wheelchair when he leaves the house.’
      • ‘The two boys fought bravely with their sticks as weapons, and in the end, like always, the young knight won.’
      • ‘And physical assaults against staff behind the counters ranged from them being pushed around to being hit with weapons, including sticks and crowbars.’
      • ‘And yes, they felt free to use weapons such as sticks and horsewhips.’
      • ‘She took both hers and Gabriella's fighting sticks and stuck them up against a wall.’
      club, cudgel, bludgeon, shillelagh
      walking stick, cane, staff
      View synonyms
    2. 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.
      • ‘Hockey pucks and sticks are put away in favor of basketballs and baseballs.’
      • ‘The 10 outfield players can only hit the ball with the flat part of their sticks but the goalkeeper can use any part of his/her body to save.’
      • ‘The slap shot from the left circle appeared to be deflected by a defenceman's stick.’
      • ‘The man should not be playing a game that involves sticks and blades.’
      • ‘Keenan glides along, occasionally flipping pucks with his right-handed stick.’
      • ‘All that is needed is a pair of inline skates: the club has a supply of full hockey equipment such as sticks, helmets, gloves and pads.’
      • ‘Max was a center who always seemed to have the puck attached to his stick.’
      • ‘Skates are often used to kick the ball/puck up to your stick, quite often in limited space between players and the boards, so you don't want the brake to catch when you turn the skate sideways.’
      • ‘Though the majority of players use one-piece sticks, the curve of the blade still often requires work.’
      • ‘The degree of bending will then influence the angle at which the puck leaves the stick.’
      • ‘If he has to go side to side real quick, he doesn't stack the pads as much as he uses the glove hand or his blocker and stick.’
      • ‘Once you establish position, you must keep your man's stick tied up to keep him from being able to get to the puck - to prevent him from shooting or tipping it.’
      • ‘Purposely beating another player with your stick is essentially the same thing, using a potentially deadly tool of the sport to injure a competitor.’
      • ‘He was in New York to welcome the new millennium, but he traveled without his skates and stick.’
      • ‘That could leave him open to being hit; it could also make him more likely to clip an opponent, or even a teammate, with his stick.’
    3. 1.3sticks (in field hockey) the foul play of raising the stick above the shoulder.
    4. 1.4[usually with modifier] A short, thin piece of wood used to impale food:
      ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And ah, those golden years in the mid 70s when the last bite of your lolly meant revealing the punchline to a particularly weak joke on the hidden half of the lolly stick.’
      • ‘Specialist kitchen shops sell proper wooden lolly sticks, but if you can't find them, simply use a plastic teaspoon as your stick.’
      • ‘That wood goes to make flooring, paneling, furniture and kebab sticks.’
      • ‘Skewer the marshmallow on an extra-long cooking fork or a stick cut from a tree and whittled to a point.’
      • ‘A whole fresh apple, on a thin stick, is dipped in high-boiled sugar syrup which has been coloured red; and allowed to set before being wrapped in cellophane.’
    5. 1.5the sticksinformal Goalposts or cricket stumps.
      • ‘Reports suggest Carter hit the ball over the sticks from fully 70 metres.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It now looks likely he will have to wait for another chance between the sticks.’
      • ‘Goddard, the man with the magic touch, could do no wrong and sent the ball straight between the sticks from the touchline.’
      • ‘Barry Marchena made an impressive debut between the sticks on Saturday, but couldn't stop Kingstonian from being bundled out of the FA Cup.’
      • ‘Then the 70-minute frenzy began, effectively for the Scots with Norman Campbell of Newtonmore hitting straight over the sticks for an immediate two point lead.’
      • ‘Two minutes later, Rhodes' perfectly-timed pass saw Callaghan on the burst and he put Simon Friend storming to the sticks.’
      • ‘Other clubs in the top division are not having the same crises of confidence between the sticks where there is an undisputed number one.’
      • ‘But for a new wave of teenage Aberdeen supporters, the old fogey between the sticks must be just another member of a depressingly unsuccessful side.’
      • ‘Keeper Damian Ward played admirably between the sticks and was a model of coolness and composure throughout.’
      • ‘Keeper Kevin Crowley was a tower of strength between the sticks dealing admirably with everything that came his way.’
    6. 1.6Nautical archaic A mast or spar.
    7. 1.7 A piece of basic furniture:
      ‘every stick of furniture just vanished’
      • ‘There was ‘not a light fixture, not a stick of furniture, not a picture’ in the manor when he saw it for the first time in January 1988.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was no television and barely a stick of furniture.’
      • ‘It didn't go with a single dish or stick of furniture in the house but she had a purple kitchen.’
      • ‘‘Ceilings have collapsed, floors have been damaged and there is not a stick of furniture anywhere,’ Hine says.’
      • ‘We don't have a sofa, a coffee table, a mirror, a desk - not a stick of furniture to call our own.’
  • 2Something resembling or likened to a stick, in particular:

    1. 2.1 A long, thin piece of something:
      ‘a stick of dynamite’
      ‘cinnamon sticks’
      • ‘The entire mosque is flushed deep red, its minarets striped with red sandstone and white marble like giant sticks of candy.’
      • ‘He whipped a stick of gum out of his pocket and chewed it violently.’
      • ‘Miners threw sticks of dynamite at riot police outside the congress building and the presidential palace.’
      • ‘She knew her typical meals of cheese sticks or fried foods needed to change to get the figure she wanted.’
      • ‘Police say the 70 sticks of dynamite were too old and unstable to remove.’
      • ‘From his other bag, where he kept the food, he took a few sticks of cinnamon, a grater, and several apples.’
      • ‘Wrap cheese sticks and pieces of apple and carrot in a slice of ham.’
      • ‘It's just like somebody threw a couple of sticks of dynamite in there and it exploded upward and fell down.’
      • ‘Sheesh, anyone would think those were real sticks of dynamite…’
      • ‘Amelia handed me a stick of gum and put her fingers in her ears.’
      • ‘There are, of course, a few sticks of gum, and I pop one in my mouth as I walk out the room.’
      • ‘If fast food outlets sold tuna salads and sticks of celery there wouldn't be half the problem.’
      • ‘Inside the napkins were a few carrot sticks and a small piece of bread.’
      • ‘He thought maybe there was a market for something a tad more delicate and easier to eat, so he hired a local meatpacker to develop his thin, dried beef stick.’
      • ‘Two sticks of celery taste so much better washed down with a glass of Chardonnay or two.’
      • ‘‘You found him?’ she asked, snatching her arms back with gratitude and reaching into her pocket for a thin stick of nicotine gum.’
      • ‘The portraits and incense sticks of the family shrine, built into the wall of one of the rooms, have been replaced by a vase and contemporary pictures.’
      • ‘Incense sticks should be safely burned in incense holders and resins can be burned on small pieces of charcoal in metal burners.’
      • ‘She raised both hands above her head, holding incense sticks, while praying.’
      • ‘I hesitated only long enough to grab an incense stick and lighter, and was outside in a minute.’
    2. 2.2 Used to refer to a very thin person or limb:
      ‘the girl was a stick’
      ‘her arms were like sticks’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That girl has nothing on me, what with her wobbly sticks she calls limbs.’
      • ‘She wore long leggings that were very loose and made her legs look like sticks.’
      • ‘The thighs are like sticks, shiny and straight.’
      • ‘He had blonde hair, like the lady's, green eyes, like the girl's, and was skinny as a stick.’
      • ‘She was a twenty-something stick of a girl, who kept staring over at the stage where Jackson was double checking all the instruments.’
      • ‘Cherry lay folded into the corner, arms and legs like sticks.’
      • ‘There are to many pressures on young girls what with adverts depicting women as thin size 8 waisted sticks as beautiful and glamorous.’
    3. 2.3[as modifier] (of a figure) drawn with short, thin, straight lines:
      ‘stick drawings of a man and girl’
      • ‘All the others were drawing peace symbols and stick figures with clothes holding hands over the earth in the background.’
      • ‘You may have recreated this illusion in school or on your own by drawing stick figures or other pictures on a stack of paper, then flipped through the paper quickly.’
      • ‘He draws two intertwined stick figures with big dopey smiles.’
      • ‘He drew a funny picture of some random stick figure and taped it to the their chair.’
      • ‘I always drew a certain way, with patterns and stick figures, while in grade school.’
      • ‘Two stick figures were holding hands, the taller with a red jacket, the shorter with a triangle dress and pigtails, smiling under a happy-looking sun.’
      • ‘Will spent the time talking and drew stick figures as he spoke.’
      • ‘But with God as my witness, I found that I was incapable of drawing convincing stick figures.’
      • ‘He cannot draw, he can barely letter, and musters only stick figures.’
      • ‘When she was six years old, just like other children her age, Zoe used to draw stick figures of her family.’
      • ‘It was holding hands with a much smaller stick figure with a little red backpack.’
      • ‘I could write scripts and storyboard style using stick figures and balloons and captions.’
      • ‘By two to three you'll find circles and lines appearing in the drawings, and by the time she gets to preschool you may see these shapes being put together to form stick figures.’
      • ‘Would you use stick figures when full figures would tell a more compelling story?’
      • ‘He had drawn little stick figures of the class without knowing it.’
      • ‘I choose to utilize this time wisely by doodling stick figures engaged in various activities.’
      • ‘Long brown hair fell over her paper but she ignored it while doodling stick figures.’
      • ‘They are depicted as stick figures with bows and arrows and accompanied by packs of hunting dogs.’
      • ‘He recalls drawing a stick figure on his two-year-old daughter's easel just before the mother of one of her preschool classmates walked in.’
      • ‘The drawing depicted two crude smiling crayon stick figures standing in front of a house holding hands.’
    4. 2.4 A conductor's baton.
    5. 2.5 A gear or control lever.
      • ‘The camera can be controlled with the right stick, but it feels limited in certain areas.’
      • ‘This game looks slick and plays like a dream, especially with the use of both analogue sticks controlling speed and direction.’
      • ‘On its most basic level attacks are performed with either the A or B buttons in combination with a direction on the control stick.’
      • ‘The right stick wholly controls the camera, when it's not fixed to a specific point in some areas of the game.’
      • ‘The left stick controls your movement forwards and backwards, as well as turns you left and right while R1 and L1 act as your strafe.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Before the students take control of the stick, they must spend time getting familiar with situations they may encounter in the sky.’
      • ‘Coming up with a peppermint, she gathered the object between two fingers, and brought the stick back into first gear again.’
      • ‘It still had sticks, rather than control yokes, and got most of its performance out of its light weight.’
      • ‘With that she pushed forward on her control stick and the fighter screamed out of the hangar into space.’
      • ‘You can even move their heads in the window by pressing the analog stick in any direction.’
      • ‘Crystal was in the middle of the machine holding two sticks that controlled the arms.’
      • ‘The pilot does so and lets go of the control sticks.’
      • ‘Imagine being able to land a jumbo jet without ever taking control of the stick.’
      • ‘You will need to steer the boat using the analog stick so keep trying to turn left.’
      • ‘When chaos was all around him he felt in control behind the stick of his fighter.’
      • ‘It's manually controlled by the right stick and you'll be adjusting it - constantly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I ram in the clutch, come to almost a dead stop, and slip the stick up to first gear.’
      • ‘One stick controls Max's aim, while the other makes Max move.’
    6. 2.6US A quarter-pound pack of butter or margarine.
      • ‘Melt the stick of margarine and add the first six ingredients.’
      • ‘I used 1 1/4 sticks butter and that was enough to hold the bread crumbs and nuts together.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Massive jaws sliced through his body like a knife through a stick of butter.’
      • ‘I pictured the insides of his refrigerator being nothing but an expired carton of orange juice and a stick of butter.’
      • ‘She squeezed the stick of butter into a fourth of a cup.’
      • ‘Replace high-fat whole milk with 2 percent or skim milk and use soft, tub margarine instead of hard-margarine sticks.’
      • ‘I've seen legs of lamb rotiserried with an entire stick of butter.’
      • ‘What we did is we used some fat-free milk instead of a stick or two of butter in the filling.’
      • ‘Finally you are putting into this mix a whole stick of reduction butter.’
      • ‘She found the stick of butter and put it in the cart.’
      • ‘When I made it, I found that one stick of butter wasn't enough.’
      • ‘I took the opportunity though to shove the stick of margarine into his laughing mouth.’
    7. 2.7 A number of bombs or paratroopers dropped rapidly from an aircraft:
      ‘the sticks of bombs rained down’
      • ‘But the art of this two-track war is more than offering a care-package carrot in lieu of a stick of iron bombs.’
      • ‘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.’
    8. 2.8 A 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
    • ‘No politician would dare to suggest that we stop paying benefits to those who need them most, so what we offer instead is a stick that looks like a carrot.’
    • ‘Heaven, of course, is the carrot offered against the stick.’
    • ‘If car makers don't agree to move quickly, Kerry could pull out the stick: the threat of higher fuel-economy standards.’
    • ‘Because the fact of the matter is you're going to need some combination of carrots and sticks on the issue of homeland security.’
    • ‘Something needs to be done to improve the percentage turnout but carrots rather than sticks should be the first approach.’
    • ‘If history is any guide a lot of this diplomacy was doubtless clumsily done, in alternations between proffers of carrots and threats of the stick.’
    • ‘In the same spirit, contemporary conservatives approach the family with plenty of moralizing sticks and carrots.’
    • ‘The carrot and the stick, rewards and punishments, are the most effective ways of training animals and humans.’
    1. 3.1British informal [mass noun] Severe criticism or treatment:
      ‘I took a lot of stick from the press’
      • ‘She was in a room of artists at the time, so got a lot of stick for it, but I felt she was right.’
      • ‘I got some severe stick for that, mostly from people who don't take the trouble to read carefully and think about the words.’
      • ‘City councillors take a lot of stick over their transport policy.’
      • ‘They come in for a lot of stick, but we will rely heavily on their courage and independence in the coming weeks.’
      • ‘We got quite a lot of stick when we first moved there.’
      • ‘We'd lost the last match against Scotland the year before and were getting stick for our style.’
      • ‘Bus drivers take a lot of stick from children while doing school runs.’
      • ‘You must have got some stick from team-mates during your playing days?’
      • ‘We do get a bit of stick from time to time but most of the English players have a lot of respect for Australians based in Europe.’
      • ‘He's a good player who has come in for some unjustified stick but he keeps going and is doing well at Birmingham.’
      • ‘They normally come in for a lot of stick and criticism from the public.’
      • ‘And I got a bit of stick from their fans when I left the pitch, which was out of order.’
      • ‘The much-maligned right winger is used to getting stick.’
      • ‘‘I was getting a bit of stick from the fans so you want to cap your performance off with a goal,’ he grinned.’
      • ‘We take a lot of stick working in the retail trade, a small amount of it justified, a large amount not.’
      • ‘There's been a lot of stick handed out to individuals and some of it has been quite personal.’
      • ‘I tell you what, I've been getting a lot of stick about these sandals.’
      • ‘A few of the guys did give me some stick, teased me, but, really, I did not mind.’
      • ‘Obviously the manager gets stick, rightly or wrongly, but that's just the way football is.’
      • ‘However, none of the younger lads have given us too much stick over our ages yet so I reckon we should keep it quiet.’
      criticism, flak, censure, reproach, reproof, condemnation, castigation, chastisement, blame, abuse
      View synonyms
  • 4the sticksinformal, derogatory Rural areas far from cities or civilization:

    ‘he felt hard done by living out in the sticks’
    • ‘I have one, can't manage out in the sticks without one, but I have absolutely no interest in them beyond that.’
    • ‘Some of them were really out in the sticks only a few yards from the Old Sea Bank, just a short mud bath away from The Wash.’
    • ‘Most of them are based out in the sticks, as it were.’
    • ‘It was a bit of a drag not getting a lift back, as the yard was out in the sticks on an old farm-site, but he was being well paid and a two-mile walk back into Hemel Hempstead was no big deal.’
    • ‘You get people like this, groupings like this, and almost, cafes like this when you live out in the sticks.’
    • ‘We people who live out in the sticks have a better idea of what could potentially happen, we can foresee the trap.’
    • ‘Here a country girl from the sticks learns to beat the urban, male-dominated FBI at their own game.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Two bus-rides and a walk in the rain later we found the old dairy farm, muttering under our breaths about the wisdom of locating such an establishment way out in the sticks.’
    • ‘The people who twenty years ago would have bought a big suburban house are now out in the sticks.’
    • ‘Out in the sticks, another shop owner refines her strategy for coping.’
    • ‘The little festival out in the sticks had been catering to the same loyal bunch of bluegrass fanatics for the previous 14 years and doing a fine job of it.’
    • ‘Now it seems issues can start in the sticks and land on Westminster's doorstep, fully formed.’
    • ‘We managed to hire a 30 ft fibreglass boat which surprised us as we'd expected something a little less grand this far out in the sticks.’
    • ‘She is now living out in the sticks so she only works two days a week.’
    • ‘If you live out in the sticks or are after specialised items of tackle then mail order is the answer.’
    • ‘I'm sure the good folks out in the sticks have known plenty of rich metropolitans in their day.’
    • ‘If it were out in the sticks, in a provincial town, this place would do a roaring trade.’
    • ‘Out in the sticks last weekend, the sheep looked like shrivelled prunes on legs.’
    • ‘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
    the backcountry, the backland
    the backblocks, the booay
    the backveld, the platteland
    the middle of nowhere
    the boondocks, the boonies, the tall timbers
    woop woop, beyond the black stump
    View synonyms
  • 5informal, dated [with adjective] A person of a specified kind:

    ‘Janet's not such a bad old stick sometimes’
    • ‘The implication is that he wasn't such a bad old stick.’
    • ‘Which again, from these tapes you get historical evidence that the queen is not quite the dry old stick that she sometimes is painted to be.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘May left, she was a stout old stick and I knew she would not say anything.’
    • ‘So stop acting like a dried-up old stick and get with the program.’
  • 6Stock Market
    A large quantity of unsold stock, especially the proportion of shares which must be taken up by underwriters after an unsuccessful issue.

Phrases

  • over the sticks

    • In steeplechasing and hurdles:

      ‘he gives Folk Dance his seasonal debut over the sticks’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Arkle without reservation is the greatest horse ever over the sticks.’
  • 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?’
      • ‘Remember the old saying, sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me?’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘As that old saying goes, 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

    • informal Pregnant.

  • up sticks

    • informal Go to live elsewhere.

      • ‘I'm certainly not advocating for anybody else to up sticks and go.’
      • ‘We've all wanted to do it - up sticks and live in the sun.’
      • ‘Alternatively, George may simply up sticks and move on, actually volunteering to leave the house.’
      • ‘I'm unlikely to up sticks and go to a developing country.’
      • ‘When you up sticks and move at such a young age it makes you quite self conscious of your surroundings and makes you question your environment.’
      • ‘But should we worry that Scottish companies might simply up sticks and move to a bigger market in England?’
      • ‘That is not only because people are contemplating upping sticks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No, the only answer is to up sticks and go elsewhere.’
      • ‘I think upping sticks and changing directions can be very invigorating.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

stick

/stɪk/

Main definitions of stick in English

: stick1stick2

stick2

verb

  • 1stick something in/into/through[with object] Push a sharp or pointed object into or through (something):

    ‘he stuck his fork into the sausage’
    ‘she stuck her finger in his eye’
    • ‘He looks like he's just come from sticking his finger in an electrical socket.’
    • ‘He who showed quick reactions to stick his ice axe into the ground and hung for several minutes.’
    • ‘I stuck a fork in it and pulled it out of its shell with a squelchy noise.’
    • ‘About every 15 minutes, check the ham for doneness by sticking a fork into the meat.’
    • ‘She glanced over at the small burning candle near and stuck her finger in the wax.’
    • ‘I stuck a fork into one oblong piece and put it in my mouth.’
    • ‘‘Look at the texture on that,’ said Pippin, sticking her finger into my cake.’
    • ‘I stuck my fork into another flan, to check whether it was true.’
    • ‘If you disturb one it sticks the barbs on its legs into your skin.’
    • ‘He just kept sticking his finger in the sauce bowl, then taking it out and licking it, then back in the bowl, then more licking.’
    • ‘It's almost like someone sticking a finger into your belly button.’
    • ‘He stuck a fork through his foot last Monday.’
    • ‘They stuck candles in the sand and held hands, chanting Hindu prayers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They took my arm and stuck a needle in it.’
    • ‘Delicately the woman stuck a finger into the water pitcher.’
    • ‘I grabbed my water bottle, stuck my finger in to wet it, and then dripped a small amount on my arm.’
    • ‘It wasn't that he feared the pain, never that, he just didn't want someone sticking sharp objects into his body if they didn't know what they were doing exactly.’
    thrust, push, insert, jab, dig, plunge, ram, force
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1stick something on Fix something on (a point or pointed object):
      ‘stick the balls of wool on knitting needles’
      • ‘His men decapitated an opposition fighter's corpse and stuck his head on a post as a warning.’
      • ‘The recruitment sergeant reputedly stuck a havercake on the top of his bayonet as an enticement for the tykes to enlist.’
      • ‘Once or twice a day the intrepid fisherman ‘runs’ his trot line meaning he gets in a boat and checks the hook dangling beneath each float and if necessary sticks a fresh perch on it for bait.’
      • ‘By the time they reach their teens, the kids will probably have exhumed my body and stuck my head on a pike.’
    2. 1.2stick in/into/through[no object] (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’
      • ‘Another knife flew through the air, sticking into the ground at Veon's feet.’
      • ‘It came back down and stuck into the ground right between them.’
      • ‘Then to her surprise, Chris threw the sword and it landed in front of her, sticking in the ground.’
      • ‘He stood opposite me, my knife stuck into the ground in front of him.’
      • ‘Little flags on sticks, stuck into the ground around a tree where an informal memorial had been created by visitors.’
      • ‘What was also strange was that the arrows were fired on a shallow trajectory but they still stuck into the ground.’
      • ‘They'd cleared everything out pretty well; the only things they'd missed were a feather duster in the utility cupboard and a trowel stuck through the rafters in the shed.’
      • ‘Bastian lifted Andy up and brought him into the tent, quickly binding his arms with some rope, to a pole that was sticking in the ground.’
      • ‘When they are extricated, one of them is unconscious and has a steel rod sticking into his temple.’
      • ‘He rolled back just in time and icicles skimmed him and stuck into the ground.’
      • ‘Without knowing it, I wrenched at a tube stuck into my wrist.’
    3. 1.3 Stab or pierce with a sharp object:
      ‘he screamed like a stuck pig’
      • ‘I was in the country and was entirely occupied with running down hares, and sticking salmon.’
      • ‘If you stick a pig it squeals.’
      stab, run through, transfix, impale, spit, spear
      pierce, penetrate, puncture, prick, spike, stab
      View synonyms
  • 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’
    • ‘He stuck his head round the corner.’
    • ‘There was a knock on her door and she looked up as Sheila pushed it open, sticking her head in.’
    • ‘Damian grinned back, took a pink flower and stuck it behind his ear.’
    • ‘She acted as if she were going to kiss him, then, instead, stuck a cigarette between her lips and lit it up.’
    • ‘When there was no response he pushed it ajar and stuck his head in to look around.’
    • ‘I felt the urge to stick my tongue out behind their backs but I stopped myself.’
    • ‘She shook her head and placed a strand of hair behind her ear before sticking her hand out.’
    • ‘The woman had lit a cigarette and stuck it between her teeth.’
    • ‘John quietly pushed open the door and stuck his head round it.’
    • ‘The lady with the pencil stopped tapping it, and stuck it behind her ear.’
    • ‘I stuck my head round the door to see what was going on.’
    • ‘The girl stuck the cigarette behind her ear like a pen, and pocketed the lighter.’
    • ‘He pushed harder until he was able to push it open to stick his head through and saw Kat on the floor in front of the door.’
    • ‘Ally put her cell phone to her ear, sticking her tongue out at her father.’
    • ‘I reached into my backpack to get a pen, and stuck it behind my ear.’
    • ‘I stuck my tongue out at him and pushed him out of my way.’
    • ‘Chris stuck his arms through the hole and pushed himself up.’
    • ‘I stuck my tongue out behind her back, chuckling to myself.’
    • ‘She poked my stomach and I stuck my tongue out at her and sighed.’
    • ‘Cars stopped as she passed, angry drivers sticking their heads out the windows and cursing at her.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘His short hair was now messy, sticking up in different directions.’
      • ‘All she could see was old Mary's boots sticking up in the air.’
      • ‘He had his right hand in a clenched fist with his thumb sticking up.’
      • ‘He looked down and saw a leg sticking up out of heavy briars.’
      • ‘On the table is a bowl of fruit with two bananas sticking up, one either side.’
      • ‘I inherited my father's chin, which sticks out, but luckily I inherited his sense of humour as well so I can laugh at it.’
      • ‘He started across the highway and caught his toe on a piece of asphalt that was sticking up.’
      • ‘On the way downhill, we pass a house with only the roof sticking up above the lava.’
      • ‘There were boards with nails sticking up everywhere.’
      • ‘In the meantime people and children walking in this area of the woods should be careful how they tread since there are many branches sticking up out of the ground.’
      • ‘The naked eye saw only a wire sticking up out of the road.’
      • ‘Alison was covered with bandages and tubes sticking out of her nose.’
      • ‘They also had flat feet and teeth that stuck out.’
      • ‘Her blonde hair was messy, sticking up in all directions.’
      • ‘His jet black hair was sticking out all over the place in its usual fashion.’
      • ‘The new mast stuck around nine metres out from the roof and was supported by surrounding cables, but it was closer to local houses than the old one.’
      • ‘Because the water in the lake was very low, a couple of huge stones stuck out.’
      • ‘Taps that had dried up long ago stuck out from the walls and the floor was strewn with garbage.’
      • ‘Sean stepped on a shard of glass that was sticking up from the riverbed.’
      • ‘The ox's bones were sticking out of their backs.’
      protrude, jut out, project, stand out, extend, poke out, obtrude
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2[with object and adverbial of place] Put somewhere, typically in a quick or careless way:
      ‘just stick that sandwich on my desk’
      • ‘We stuck our shoes on and went out the back to the car.’
      • ‘Pulling on her gloves Mercy stuck her wallet and house keys in her coat pockets.’
      • ‘You've turned up the heating, you've stuck an extra sweatshirt on, and still you're shivering.’
      • ‘In the end they just stuck me in a mental ward but none of them understood what was really happening inside my head.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Apparently someone stuck the box up on that shelf without telling me and it's been there these five and a half years.’
      • ‘Many old computers are stuck up in attics as people don't want to just throw them out.’
      • ‘I grabbed the computer microphone, stuck it next to the phone and played the voicemail back into it.’
      • ‘He sticks the card back on the shelf, shoving it between the smiling clown figurine and the lighted seashell.’
      • ‘Garrett was sitting down at his desk, rereading notes he had found stuck away in a drawer.’
      put, place, set, put down, set down, lay, lay down, deposit, situate, position
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3informal Used to express angry dismissal:
      ‘he told them they could stick the job—he didn't want it anyway’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I very nearly told her to stick her job, but remembered that I was going to need it to pay for the material for the costumes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I would have loved to tell Markie to stick his jobs.’
    4. 2.4informal Cause to incur an expense or loss:
      ‘she stuck me for last month's rent’
      • ‘The settlement sum was, according to reports, in the six figure bracket which means poor Conor was stuck for between €100,000 and €999,999.’
      • ‘They're sticking him for $2 grand, baselessly claiming it's his fault.’
      • ‘He stuck me for thousands of dollars.’
      • ‘They have stuck me for $50.’
  • 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’
    • ‘I later found a few stuck on my clothes, clinging to the wet sleeves of my shirt.’
    • ‘They stuck securely onto the mouse on various surfaces, but were easily removed.’
    • ‘Once the organism is stuck on to something, unless it is cleaned, it is there for 80 days - that is how long it can survive.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1[with object and adverbial of place] Fasten or cause to adhere to something:
      ‘she stuck the stamp on the envelope’
      • ‘If you aren't keen on sewing a puppet's features in place, stick them on instead.’
      • ‘On the inner side, after applying the glue, stick a layer of thin cardboard on the corner.’
      • ‘He uses a laser printer to add specific information about the specific honey in question to his preprinted honey labels and then sticks the labels on the jars.’
      • ‘Get a glue gun and stick some sequins on a pair of flip flops.’
      • ‘I stuck little notes on my bedroom mirror and my computer monitor.’
      • ‘A traffic warden is skulking around and has just stuck a ticket on the car next to me.’
      • ‘The traffic police had checked the three-wheelers for essential documents and as a sign-off message stuck their stickers on the vehicles.’
      • ‘He then asked if he could borrow some tape to stick some papers together.’
      • ‘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 stuck labels on jars to earn a living and slept in a rat-infested warehouse in the slums of London.’
      • ‘Alternatively, you could cover the outside of the vase in double-sided adhesive tape, then stick large leaves vertically around it.’
      • ‘It's not a very glamorous job but at least it was better then my old job which was sticking price tags again and again on canned food.’
      • ‘He had left before Helen moved back, but stickers were stuck on to her windows and protesters with loud hailers shouted slogans outside her home.’
      • ‘‘There,’ he says softly, sticking the medical tape over the end of the bandage to keep it in place.’
      • ‘We've stuck little instruction labels to their computers.’
      • ‘Write your message on a post-it-note and stick it where it is sure to be found.’
      • ‘He stuck a big sticker on it saying ‘Do not use’.’
      • ‘I ran into Gill the other day sticking up posters.’
      • ‘In the past, builders usually stuck them on with a little patio cement and that was it.’
      • ‘I even stuck some posters on the wall.’
      affix, attach, fasten, fix
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2informal Be or become convincing, established, or regarded as valid:
      ‘the authorities couldn't make the charges stick’
      ‘the name stuck and Anastasia she remained’
      • ‘At parliamentary party meetings, the charge has stuck - partially at least.’
      • ‘Literary critics described these works as muscular Christianity, and the name stuck.’
      • ‘The name stuck and was later officially recognized by the Air Force.’
      • ‘The name stuck; soon came a website, and 4000 members.’
      • ‘That notion stuck, and public support for food programs waned.’
      • ‘In many cases, these first impressions stick and can be very hard to change.’
      • ‘But at some point the dedication, discipline and thrill of competition stuck and he was hooked.’
      • ‘The captain named the house the Retreat, but the name never stuck and by 1853 it was known as St David's.’
      • ‘He renamed it the Fairfield yard - a name that was to stick until 1968.’
      • ‘But will the charges stick, and are America's boardrooms now squeaky clean?’
      • ‘The advert was soon forgotten, but the name stuck.’
      • ‘Of course the idea didn't stick and people quickly began to discern between real skill with a camera and the average - Joe photo.’
      • ‘Despite lengthy investigations, neither charge was made to stick, although he was reproached by the chairmen of both inquiries.’
      • ‘The charges against him won't stick, but the chilling effect it will have on other researchers will.’
      • ‘The new name didn't stick, and it's still referred to as Oxford Park.’
      • ‘The evidence against him is probably enough to make charges stick.’
      • ‘The very brightest stars in the sky were named many, many years ago and these names have stuck.’
      • ‘These judges and their interpretation of law and of the Constitution will stick, for decades.’
      • ‘However, despite her best efforts, the name stuck and soon spread.’
      • ‘When they were little, I told them, ‘Only boring people can be bored,’ and the notion stuck.’
      be upheld, hold, be believed, gain credence, be regarded as valid
      View synonyms
    3. 3.3 (in pontoon and similar card games) decline to add to one's hand.
      • ‘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.’
  • 4be/get stuckBe 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’
    • ‘You've been stuck in the same position for so long that you're a little cramped up.’
    • ‘Alexis tried to pull the window open but it was stuck.’
    • ‘Barton Swing Bridge at Eccles was stuck in the open position yesterday after the high temperatures caused metal to expand.’
    • ‘But, alas, I was sad to be stuck once again in horrific traffic.’
    • ‘I can't change anything, I'm stuck here in this rut.’
    • ‘For what seemed like ten minutes I turned my finger this way and that, pushed, pulled, twisted and shook, but I was stuck fast, and if anything it was getting worse.’
    • ‘He was getting bored being stuck in one position for so long.’
    • ‘People don't want to be stuck in traffic or commuting long distances.’
    • ‘While climbing out of the window, his neck got stuck and it appears he was unable to breathe and suffocated.’
    • ‘Nick probably hears worse from the little ladies whose cats get stuck up trees.’
    • ‘Her legs and her right arm were still paralyzed, so she was stuck in her sitting position.’
    • ‘My bedroom window is stuck and I need someone to un-stick it.’
    • ‘I struggled to raise the window which appeared to be stuck.’
    • ‘I got as close as I could, then got stuck and couldn't move.’
    • ‘A cat had got stuck up a ten-foot telephone pole.’
    • ‘There are times when we play a shot and our feet are not in position or we get stuck.’
    • ‘It seems the cat had been stuck there for 12 days.’
    • ‘My mind and body screamed at me but I was stuck, unable to move.’
    • ‘The container had toppled over when the lorry carrying it got stuck in mud.’
    • ‘Halfway through, he got stuck and, unable to go forward or back, eventually died of asphyxiation.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘After a nightmarish afternoon when I became stuck fast while walking through mud, and tumbled forward into the thick of it, I now discover that wellies are dangerous.’
      • ‘She stuck fast, despite running her engines full astern.’
      • ‘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 264 ft ship with her 42 ft beam just missed the lighthouse, but the wind and waves drove her high on the rocks, where she stuck fast.’
      • ‘At about nine o'clock, the first vehicle topped a ridge, hit a patch of soft sand and stuck fast.’
      • ‘Is that drawer in the bathroom vanity still sticking, despite trying to lubricate it with toothpaste?’
      • ‘The ship struck the Tricolor at 7.30 yesterday evening and became stuck fast.’
      • ‘Finally, on January the 19th, the ship 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.’
      • ‘A large bag fell off the pallet and became stuck under one of the wheels of the fork lift truck.’
      • ‘Frustrated, she yanked on the last drawer, but it seemed stuck.’
      • ‘The sword stuck fast in a crack in between two of the stone blocks.’
      • ‘The tow truck driver who eventually towed the truck out testified it had to be towed out of the ditch because the left front wheel was down in the mud and stuck.’
      • ‘Three miles distant from the jetty the steamer stuck fast.’
      • ‘The dresser drawer stuck when I pulled it open, and the small thing seemed to infuriate me.’
      • ‘His vehicle became stuck and after he exited he discovered his right front wheel was mired in a hole and the tire was flat.’
      • ‘While she was there, aged 16, she watched whaling boats set out on the North Sea, and heard reports of one becoming stuck fast in the ice.’
      become trapped, become jammed, jam, catch, become wedged, become lodged, become fixed, become embedded, become immobilized, become unable to move, get bogged down
      View synonyms
    2. 4.2be/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’
      • ‘I stopped because it looked like Elijah was stuck on how to spell a word.’
      • ‘If you get stuck on one, move on to another and try to figure it out later.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If I get stuck on one project, I just move over to something else.’
      • ‘It was actually something I was stuck on for a while and I had to ask a bunch of people about it.’
      • ‘I have completed thirty nine but I am stuck on the last one.’
      • ‘My brother in law, who fancies himself as a bit of a genius at crosswords had a go and got stuck.’
    3. 4.3[no object] Remain in a static condition; fail to progress:
      ‘he lost a lot of weight but had stuck at 15 stone’
      • ‘The fear expressed by the narrator that the story is stuck and will never be able to progress to a proper ending mirrors Ambrose's similar fear that he will be trapped in the funhouse forever.’
      • ‘Existing customers are likely to be stuck on 7% interest even after last week's 0.25% rate cut.’
      • ‘Since then, he's been stuck on 249 career goals during a barren spell comprising 13 games.’
      • ‘They need to boost their vote from the 9% where it has been stuck for a while.’
      • ‘A breakthrough or turnaround is possible in personal, family and professional situations that may have been stuck or blocked for some time.’
      • ‘The party has not recovered from its disastrous general election performance and is stuck on about 22 per cent public support.’
      • ‘The soccer star is stuck on 99 goals for Liverpool.’
      • ‘No one gave any thought to Jon Sieben, a 5-9 Aussie with a best of 2: 01, a time at which he'd been stuck for three years.’
      • ‘Firstly salaries often get stuck at certain levels, therefore forcing people to move South or in my case abroad to find work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He goes on to point out that from being stuck on 128 points for some years in the early 1990's, Borris climbed to a position of 203 points in 1999.’
      • ‘When they get to a certain level, they get stuck because they need to be employed to progress further and no one wants to employ them.’
      • ‘After giving birth to her second son, Connor, in 1997, Sharon found she was stuck on 13 stone until a neighbour suggested she join in a sponsored slim for charity.’
      • ‘But the play ultimately fails, stuck somewhere between limp satire and B-grade existentialism.’
      • ‘From levels of 45-50 percent, where it had been stuck for decades, the homeownership rate rose to 64 percent by 1965.’
      • ‘He's been stuck on 14 Grammies now for a while; it's possible he's concerned that the famous singers who once lined up outside his studio door are now courting the new kid in town.’
      • ‘Last week the bidding had stuck at €299,000.’
      • ‘I had been stuck on 19 league goals for a number of weeks, so it was good to get that elusive 20th goal.’
    4. 4.4be stuckinformal [with adverbial of place] 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’
      • ‘We're stuck at home on a beautiful day waiting for the gas man to show up so we can cook again.’
      • ‘I hate being stuck indoors, almost as much as I hate cleaning and cooking.’
      • ‘It looked like he was going to be stuck at work again until late, so my plans with him were more than likely off.’
      • ‘They were stuck twiddling thumbs on a cold beach next to a military complex for two weeks.’
      • ‘So while I'm stuck at home, I thought I would finally read the manifestos of all the major parties ready for today's voting.’
      • ‘Instead, I was stuck in my little dorm room, answering the phone every time it rang in case it was Clay.’
      • ‘Of the total force of 12,000, how many are stuck behind desks?’
      • ‘What she wanted to be was out in the field, but since organizing the special police unit nicknamed the Chasers, she had been firmly stuck behind a desk.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Of course, everyone knows that on the most crisp and beautiful of days, everyone must be stuck indoors.’
      • ‘Mr Carr said: ‘If people have been stuck indoors for years and years it's going to have a very poor effect on their mental health.’’
      • ‘For better or for worse, the rains are making sure you're stuck at home.’
      • ‘Fortunately he fancied the river, as it had been blazing sunshine all day and I was sick of being stuck indoors.’
      • ‘The Spanish fishing industry says its boats are all stuck at port unable to do their job.’
      • ‘I've been stuck indoors for almost a month now and good company or not, the cats can get a little monotonous in their demands.’
      • ‘I am so sick of being stuck indoors or running from heating building to car to next heated building.’
      • ‘During her childhood, she had been stuck indoors learning social etiquette, among other things, with her older sister Emma.’
      • ‘When I'm stuck at home the days, pleasant as they may be, run in to one another and lose their distinction one from the other.’
      • ‘The book is an easy-going page turner that will help you pass the time if you are stuck at an airport.’
      • ‘You call your wife to tell her you are stuck at a meeting; she bangs the phone down on you and you go red with rage.’
    5. 4.5be stuck for Be at a loss for or in need of:
      ‘I'm not usually stuck for words’
      • ‘It was perhaps the only time in his life that he was stuck for words.’
      • ‘I was stuck for a costume for Short Tony's Hallowe'en party.’
      • ‘The old regulars had switched pubs when the bikers arrived, and the landlord was stuck for customers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the old days, if I was stuck for column ideas, I could simply reach into the Pile, pulling out movies at random.’
      • ‘I was stuck for something to drink, and bored with the usual beer or red wine, so Tracy suggested vodka and fresh orange.’
      • ‘As I was stuck for subjects, I decided to go off and seek out new ones.’
      • ‘If Cavan County Council gives Quinn the go-ahead to demolish his house, he won't be stuck for somewhere to stay.’
      • ‘Have you ever been stuck for something to wear to complete an outfit?’
      • ‘Mary was stuck for words (the first time in forty years).’
      • ‘During a session, while arranging a song, Stephin was stuck for a phrase.’
      • ‘I think it was because the kids were on half-term and were stuck for things to do.’
      • ‘I was stuck for a theme, and there's no point forcing it.’
      • ‘The larger colleges were full up to capacity, while the smaller ones, which would have the capacity to take in more teaching students were stuck for additional resources.’
      • ‘Because they were stuck for time, Mr Jeffers stopped only briefly before heading off north on the N78.’
      • ‘The mother-of-two, from Driffield, finished writing the lyrics but was stuck for any music until she met musician Gary Luntley in August.’
      • ‘Basically I was stuck for what to call this.’
      • ‘I did well enough in science to get to university and finished the first part and then I was stuck for money.’
      • ‘So whenever I was stuck for reading material, I picked up The Murder at the Vicarage.’
      • ‘So they were stuck for an actor to do two sketches: they were practically stopping cleaners to ask them to do them, but then some kind soul suggested me.’
    6. 4.6be stuck withinformal Be unable to get rid of or escape from:
      ‘like it or not, she and Grant were stuck with each other’
      • ‘He says a corporation gives up a degree of flexibility by going with one suite and runs the very real risk of being stuck with one or more pieces of second-tier software.’
      • ‘The farmers were stuck with over 7,000 of 50 kg bags of maize.’
      • ‘I hated the amount of work that I was always being stuck with.’
      • ‘I was stuck with three total strangers.’
      • ‘But whatever it is, it's something that I will be stuck with for the rest of my life, and something I will never be able to escape from.’
      • ‘Unexpectedly, Tobi was stuck with two young boys to take care of.’
      • ‘This movie was her first effort to stretch beyond the sweet girl typecasting she had been stuck with.’
      • ‘This is the unfair impression Williams feels he has been stuck with, through no dealings of his own.’
      • ‘I almost felt sorry for Kyleigh, having to be stuck with all those guys.’
      • ‘The town is stuck with the same old ramshackle building.’
      • ‘We didn't know the place and we were stuck with this dog.’
      • ‘This could go some way to rid them of the ‘misery’ tag that they have been stuck with since the release of their debut album, The Optimist.’
      • ‘But if customers don't bite, he could be stuck with more than a few air purifiers after the holidays.’
      • ‘It will be stuck with below par growth for the foreseeable future as it is forced to come to terms with the slump in the high technology sector, he said.’
      • ‘I smiled sympathetically, but was more worried about who I was going to be stuck with.’
      • ‘Lots of the doubt and anxiety I've been stuck with over the last few months has disappeared completely.’
      • ‘And if you have ever been stuck with more than a couple pre-schoolers with a full day to kill, you know that kids that age have another speed that humans of other ages do not.’
      • ‘He finds it a confounded nuisance, and this is a matter that, of course, he will be stuck with.’
      • ‘They were stuck with around 1,000 dumped refrigerators they could not dispose of.’
      • ‘It was lucky, I thought, that Kathy and Ken were complete polar opposites, because if I had been stuck with two Ken's throughout this I would have gone mad.’
      lumbered with, left with, made responsible for, hampered by
      View synonyms
    7. 4.7be stuck oninformal Be infatuated with:
      ‘he's too good for Jenny, even though she's so stuck on him’
      • ‘I am really stuck on him and my heart is entirely dedicated to him.’
      • ‘He never wants to lead me on, but because of that, I’m stuck on him.’
      • ‘She's been very direct with him, tried everything she can think of, but he's completely stuck on her.’
      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
      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
      View synonyms
  • 5British informal [often with negative] Accept or tolerate (an unpleasant or unwelcome person or situation):

    ‘I can't stick Geoffrey—he's a real old misery’
    • ‘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.’
    tolerate, put up with, take, accept, stomach, swallow, endure, bear, support, brook, submit to, take something lying down
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1stick it out Put up with or persevere with something difficult or disagreeable:
      ‘I decided to stick it out for another couple of years’
      • ‘We were in for the long haul - if it had taken ten years we would have stuck it out.’
      • ‘He told his wife he would stay and stick it out.’
      • ‘But they stuck it out, and come spring, the survivors marched out of Valley Forge eager to fight the British.’
      • ‘They didn't always see eye to eye for much of the going and they sure had their ups and downs - god knows - but, nevertheless, they stuck it out together.’
      • ‘Ten, even five years ago I would probably have stuck it out until the bitter end, just because I was afraid of missing out on something.’
      • ‘Defeat appeared to be looming 18 months ago, but he stuck it out and won.’
      • ‘He often wondered at the wisdom of his decision, but nevertheless stuck it out, convinced that one day things would change.’
      • ‘For five years he stuck it out, attending flight school where he learned to pilot helicopters, and he completed a three-year tour of duty in West Germany.’
      • ‘I would be very unhappy if I was to live my life being an engineer, but I stuck it out because I didn't want to let my parents down.’
      • ‘Love ends when one or both of you refuse to stick it out, especially when difficulties arise.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, he understood the importance of the day, and stuck it out even though it was stifling hot in the un-air-conditioned auditorium.’
      • ‘He is going to be national champion if he sticks it out.’
      • ‘Six of us stuck it out for the whole four hours, including Alison and myself.’
      • ‘Despite atrocious weather, they stuck it out through the night for their shot at fame.’
      • ‘A lesser man might have buckled, but Buckley stuck it out.’
      • ‘Kathy says that despite the threats and intimidation, she and Dennis stuck it out on the farm for so long because it was their home, their livelihood and they had faith that things would turn out okay.’
      • ‘Almost 1200 supporters had travelled to back them, but only a fraction stuck it out until full-time.’
      • ‘But working in television can also be exciting, different and ultimately rewarding - if you stick it out and stay determined.’
      • ‘I stuck it out until Sunday, when breathing became difficult.’
      • ‘She got into show business when it was hard going to be an actress and she stuck it out.’
      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
      hang in there, soldier on, tough it out, peg away, plug away, bash on
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • get stuck in (or into)

    • informal Start doing (something) with enthusiasm or determination:

      ‘we got stuck into the decorating’
      • ‘I still know a few of the teachers there so I am really looking forward to getting stuck in.’
      • ‘Down on the foreshore the volunteers were getting stuck in and, quite literally, getting their hands dirty.’
      • ‘My mother always encouraged her daughters to get stuck in and help out around the house.’
      • ‘Our performance last night was a massive improvement on last week, the boys got stuck in and you can't fault their commitment.’
      • ‘Our colleagues are looking forward to getting stuck in and really making a difference.’
      • ‘The students really got stuck in and the way they responded showed in these exam results.’
      • ‘If there's a problem or an issue needs tackling, she just can't help rolling up her sleeves and getting stuck in.’
      • ‘One couple come regularly, and he gets stuck in to farm work while she sits in the garden and reads a book.’
      • ‘In spite of weeks of arduous campaigning, she is buzzing with energy and raring to get stuck in to her political career.’
      • ‘Parents stay to give their children encouragement and often got stuck in to the work too if there are enough spare materials.’
      get down to, make a start on, embark on, set about, go about, get to work at, get to grips with, tackle, set one's hand to, throw oneself into
      have a crack at, have a go at
      commence
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘He would stick at nothing to defend me from the violence of his bloodthirsty accomplices.’
      • ‘He was resolved to stick at nothing for the securing and advancing of his honour and power.’
      • ‘She will stick at nothing to achieve her ambitions.’
      • ‘Against a class of men who themselves stuck at nothing, everything was held to be permissible.’
      • ‘This is what generally ruins great states - when each party will stick at nothing to overcome its opponents, and having done so, takes vengeance on them without mercy.’
      • ‘Lacking all self-restraint, they stuck at nothing to gain their ends, and both sides made ruthless use of any successes they won.’
      • ‘He stuck at nothing, either to advance his satellites or to destroy his enemies.’
      • ‘A moment afterwards she has reason to regret her magnanimity, for she has to deal with a villain who will stick at nothing.’
  • stick 'em up!

    • informal Hands up! (spoken by a person threatening someone else with a gun).

      • ‘‘Stick 'em up,’ he rasped as he approached from behind.’
      • ‘‘Stick 'em up,’ she said. He did. ‘Take off the jacket, real slow.’’
      • ‘‘Stick 'em up!’ they yelled in unison.’
  • stick fat

    • 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’
      • ‘Grant stuck fat until he decided his job was better off without it!’
      • ‘The time now is to celebrate what a wonderful coaching career he's had and for everyone to stick fat and stay united.’
      • ‘I've just really got to thank him for sticking fat with me and keeping the faith.’
      • ‘As a footy club, we're going to have to stick fat in this tough period.’
      • ‘Fans are fickle while supporters stick fat.’
      • ‘Our advice is to stick fat with your team for at least one more week.’
      • ‘Supporters simply had to stick fat through the bad times.’
      • ‘We've had a lot of problems but they've stuck fat with us and our players want to give back.’
      • ‘We stuck fat with him despite a niggle that threatened to keep him on the sidelines.’
      • ‘The club's president talked about "sticking fat", and promoting "unity", and we take him at his word.’
  • stick in one's mind (or memory)

    • Be remembered clearly and for a long time:

      ‘one particular incident sticks in my mind’
      • ‘The images of human beings callously slaughtered will stick in my mind for a long time.’
      • ‘The hum of the bombers is stuck in my mind.’
      • ‘I see nothing improbable in such an important matter for Orion sticking in his memory.’
      • ‘Withering criticism can stick in our minds for a long time.’
      • ‘Nothing sticks in my mind in terms of what the correct answer is to anything.’
      • ‘The daily 8 am meetings stick in my memory.’
      • ‘Two events only from our visit stick in my memory.’
      • ‘What sticks in my mind is a meeting about the struggles in the car industry.’
      • ‘The photo of the gun stuck in my mind.’
      • ‘Despite the findings of official American investigations, however, the rallying cries stick in our minds.’
  • stick in one's throat (or craw)

    • 1(of words) be difficult or impossible to say:

      ‘she couldn't say ‘Thank you’—the words stuck in her throat’
      • ‘Furthermore, as much as it sticks in my throat to say so, he has probably got it right.’
      • ‘Words stuck in his throat, leaving him without anything to say.’
      • ‘The words will not form in my mouth, as they are stuck in my throat, because they speak truth so honest, my heart will not let them go.’
      • ‘But somehow, the question gets stuck in your throat.’
      • ‘Maybe there is something you are trying to say that keeps getting stuck in your throat.’
      • ‘I blinked in response as the words stuck in my throat.’
      • ‘We looked around the candle-lit garden, further words sticking in my throat.’
      • ‘He wished he could say more, but the words just stuck in his throat.’
      • ‘Later in the empty chapel of St Martin-in-the-Fields, confused over who I've actually encountered, I weep in thrall but prayer sticks in my throat.’
      • ‘She almost managed to get the words out but they stuck in her throat.’
      1. 1.1Be difficult or impossible to accept:
        ‘the thing that sticks in your throat is that we were successful and you weren't’
        • ‘I also remember an incident that to this day still sticks in my craw.’
        • ‘‘If we have to buy the stadium back, it would stick in my throat because I don't want to give Barr one penny more, but such a clause would at least give us hope of getting rid of him,’ Taylor added.’
        • ‘Several things about this turn of events stuck in my craw.’
        • ‘Regardless of the politics, that obtuseness sticks in my craw.’
        • ‘It sticks in my throat to think that there is still someone out there who committed this crime…’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘And it just sticks in one's craw that she's being prosecuted for lying about a crime that she was not charged with.’
        • ‘But making billions while your shareholders lose their shirts, and your workers lose their jobs, sticks in our craw.’
        • ‘That's what sticks in my craw and should stick in the craw of everyone in Scotland.’
  • stick it to

    • informal Treat harshly or severely.

      • ‘The opposition party isn't slow to spot a chance to stick it to the competition by calling in the vice squad.’
      • ‘We just can't resist an opportunity to stick it to the president.’
      • ‘He had just the right touch of the defeated man, proud of his son for sticking it to the government.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I think it was an attempt to really stick it to people who don't agree with those values.’
      • ‘It will take more than fiery speeches about sticking it to the man to penetrate this mindset.’
      • ‘In the end you are also sticking it to every man and woman who works behind the scenes to make sure that art gets produced and put out to the public.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He got me on to the floor and stuck it to me good and proper.’
      • ‘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.’
  • stick one (or it) on

    • informal Hit (someone).

      • ‘I think there's every chance he could go back to the Manchester United training ground and stick one on his old team mate.’
      • ‘It would have been easy for me to go out there and stick one on him because that is what I wanted to do.’
      • ‘We were much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to stick one on the president.’
      • ‘He was first recorded as stating that he had ‘stuck one on’ Mr Dixon, but later claimed he had just pushed him.’
  • stick one's neck out

    • informal Risk incurring criticism or anger by acting or speaking boldly.

      • ‘He was warm, gentle and considerate, always sticking his neck out for others, and I think it would be good for him to be honoured in that way.’
      • ‘Every six months or so Declan sticks his neck out and is shown to be incorrect.’
      • ‘I might be sticking my neck out, but I would like to suggest that we might just be on the cusp of momentous change.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unfortunately he is sticking his neck out without realising the consequences.’
      • ‘‘But with innovation sometimes you just have to stick your neck out,’ he argues.’
      • ‘As I half anticipated, he did not wish to stick his neck out and implicitly criticise rugby.’
      • ‘‘There's a feeling that there's retribution to come if you stick your neck out,’ Angus said.’
      • ‘You stuck your neck out when others kept their heads down and their mouths shut.’
  • stick out a mile

  • stick out like a sore thumb

  • stick to one's guns

    • informal Refuse to compromise or change, despite criticism.

      • ‘He will stick to his guns, despite all the mounting evidence.’
      • ‘Peers should be open to compromise, but they should also stick to their guns on the important issues.’
      • ‘Despite the criticism, the archbishop stuck to his guns.’
      • ‘She is sticking to her guns and point blank refusing to send him anywhere else.’
      • ‘He stuck to his guns and again insisted he could do nothing to help himself.’
      • ‘Labour MPs determined to shoot down controversial plans for variable university top-up fees are poised to stick to their guns, despite last-ditch compromise proposals from the Government.’
      • ‘Management staff from both teams pleaded with him to continue but he stuck to his guns and abandoned the National Conference One fixture.’
      • ‘It made him think that force was a suitable way of dealing with tricky problems, and that if you stuck to your guns and ploughed on, you would end up as a hero.’
      • ‘He's his own man, doesn't compromise his principles to achieve cheap popularity, but sticks to his guns.’
      • ‘Women now also recognise the need to stick to their guns when they are criticised by men.’
      persevere, continue, carry on, go on, keep at it, keep on, keep going, keep it up, not give up, be persistent, be determined, follow something through, see something through, show determination, press ahead, press on, plod on, plough on, stay with something, not take no for an answer
      View synonyms
    • informal

      see gun
  • stick to one's ribs

    • (of food) be filling and nourishing:

      ‘a bowl of soup that will stick to your ribs’
      • ‘I like my gossip the same way I like my pancakes: so sweet and hot they stick to your ribs.’
      • ‘Purely utilitarian, it was stuff made to stick to one's ribs and keep them fed, happy and warm against winter's bitter chill.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Because they had to do hard manual work from early till late, they needed good food that would stick to their ribs.’
      • ‘It's also the sheer size of the cakes that makes them stick to your ribs (and thighs, abs, and hips).’
      • ‘Especially in winter, birds need a meal that will stick to their ribs.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • stick around

    • Remain in or near a place:

      ‘I'd like to stick around and watch the game’
      • ‘The tournament was almost over, so we just stuck around and watched the rest of it.’
      • ‘Now that I think about it, technically, as witnesses, we should have stuck around.’
      • ‘Janet always sticks around after the gig and chats to the crowd.’
      • ‘I knew I could have just stuck around and hung out with him for a bit.’
      • ‘While I contentedly stuck around, his seat remained empty after intermission.’
      • ‘He was giving me less and less and I was getting less and less, but still I stuck around.’
      • ‘I stuck around for a few more drinks while I mulled this opportunity.’
      • ‘Still, I hope he sticks around until the final show.’
      • ‘I pretty much finished uni for the day at 9am, but stuck around, and read my textbook on South Lawn.’
      • ‘The protesters stuck around, and they said they wanted to be arrested.’
  • stick at

    • 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’
      • ‘And we're going to be successful because the president is absolutely determined to stick at it.’
      • ‘If I'd stuck at it in an orderly fashion I'd have got it all done and, fair play, I have managed to do the urgent stuff.’
      • ‘He got his scoop by sheer determination and sticking at it.’
      • ‘She's been determined and shown fortitude and she's stuck at it.’
      • ‘After completing Grade 9, he went to work at a bakery in Berwick, and he stuck at that job for six years.’
      • ‘They stuck at their task and caused one of the best nations in world football a lot of problems.’
      • ‘But we stuck at it and as the game went on we improved our stability.’
      • ‘Maybe I should have stuck at it though, as it sounds like I had it easy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He has stuck at it, and come out and told people what's been going on, and I think he's handled it with dignity.’
      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, follow through, see through, go the distance, stay the course
      soldier on with, stick it out, hang in there, put one's back into
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘I am thrilled that our supporters are sticking by us as they seem to realise the predicament we are all facing.’
      • ‘There's no denying that I wouldn't be doing it now if dad hadn't stuck by me and been so supportive.’
      • ‘The directors stuck by the pair at this difficult time.’
      • ‘His best feature, though, was that he was extremely loyal and would stick by his friends no matter what.’
      • ‘He stuck by me and if he needs me, for whatever job, I am ready to give my all.’
      • ‘If I thought Sally was guilty, do you think I'd have stuck by her like I have?’
      • ‘Twelve years she had stuck by me, supporting me when I was at my worst.’
      • ‘He was a couple of years older than me, but we really stuck by each other.’
      • ‘There's a whole platoon of people sticking by you and giving support.’
      • ‘I sometimes wonder myself why I stick by you, defending you from all of the criticism.’
      support, stand by, be loyal to, remain faithful to, be supportive of, be on someone's side, side with, back, defend
      View synonyms
    • 2Adhere to (a commitment, belief, or rule):

      ‘I will stick by my promise to help them raise funds’
  • stick something on

    • Place the blame for a mistake or wrongdoing on (someone).

      • ‘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’
      • ‘I got her latest record and that song really stuck out to me - it sounded like an old folk song.’
      • ‘If anything sticks out it's just the passion with which people are bringing their ideas forward.’
      • ‘She sticks out in my mind because my mother used to have me run errands for her since she was our neighbor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After a long and distinguished career, one event sticks out in his memory as the only time he was afraid while at work.’
      • ‘The song stuck out amongst all the racket on TV, the big noisy box in the corner.’
      • ‘There are too many areas at risk to list here, but there are two that stuck out to me.’
      • ‘Despite all that has happened in the past 10 years, it is this last feature of the period that sticks out most clearly.’
      • ‘With so many trips to Jamaica under your belt, there must be one story that sticks out in your mind as particularly memorable.’
      • ‘The car driver said the date sticks out in his mind for a particular, personal reason which he did wish to disclose, as it would identify him.’
      stand out, be noticeable, be conspicuous, be obvious, catch the eye, be obtrusive
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘It was a storytelling imperative that made the director stick out for at least two films.’
      • ‘It's made us even more determined to stick out for a decent pay increase.’
      • ‘Aware of his scarcity value, he stuck out for record fees - a million dollars, reputedly, for his last trip to Japan.’
      • ‘We voted overwhelmingly against going for a local settlement and to stick out for national.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The porters and domestics rejected a deal from their bosses and stuck out for better than £5 an hour.’
  • stick to

    • 1Continue or confine oneself to doing or using (a particular thing):

      ‘I'll stick to bitter lemon, thanks’
      • ‘In the summertime, try sticking to lighter colored suits and stay away from darker ones.’
      • ‘If gray foliage plays a major role in your garden, stick to cool-colored flowers.’
      • ‘However, Mary concluded, if they both stuck to doing their jobs and stayed out of each other's way as much as possible, things would run smoothly.’
      • ‘Your style is to stick to the moves that we've practised, play it safe.’
      • ‘And, why do they not follow where the interview goes instead of sticking to their boring prepared questions.’
      • ‘Economic activity was his forte, and had he stayed in Sudan he could have stuck to that.’
      • ‘They urged the soldiers to stay in their barracks and stick to defending the country as professional soldiers.’
      • ‘He has continued his policy of sticking to predominantly French riders for his team.’
      • ‘All the scenes of soccer games stick to close-ups of cleats followed by actresses hitting the turf and then a ball hitting the net.’
      • ‘The scientists caution women to stay on the safe side and stick to soft drinks in late pregnancy.’
      • ‘The awards are known for sticking to the tried and true, and this year stayed true to the script, for the most part.’
      1. 1.1Not move or digress from (a path or a subject):
        ‘we stuck close to the paths’
        ‘let's stick to the facts’
        • ‘But even if you stick to the cycle paths you are not necessarily safe.’
        • ‘The two commentary tracks are well done and stick to the subject matter well.’
        • ‘It sticks to the facts, avoids becoming opinionated and doesn't patronise.’
        • ‘Travellers should stick to prescribed paths and not even contemplate wading through cultivated land.’
        • ‘An autobiography is an attempt to bring up all the facts, and to stick to them, faithfully and chronologically.’
        • ‘I won't mind if you pull us up short for not sticking to the subject.’
        • ‘My acquaintance was a little puzzled, expecting me to stick to the original subject.’
        • ‘I suppose we just have to accept that a major movie house would never dream of tackling this subject if it had to stick to the facts.’
        • ‘She sticks to her subject and argues an extremely complex case with authority, aplomb and ease.’
        • ‘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.’
    • 2Adhere to (a commitment, belief, or rule):

      ‘the government stuck to their election pledges’
      • ‘Through the decades he has stuck to his beliefs and spoken his mind.’
      • ‘Anybody with histories of alcoholism or drug abuse must prove they are willing to stick to strict rules.’
      • ‘We are delighted that the government is sticking to its commitment.’
      • ‘He continues to make progress in his physique each year by sticking to the same program.’
      • ‘After further review of the matter, I stick to my belief that the court got this one wrong.’
      • ‘Stretch limousine operators have been given a final warning to stick to the safety rules and ensure they have the right licences or face action.’
      • ‘There are so many rules, but nobody sticks to them.’
      • ‘No one thought the companies would stick to their word without continued pressure from the union.’
      • ‘The Mayor angrily stuck to his belief that if the council took over the playground, it could be insured.’
      • ‘Throughout his captivity the guards stuck to the rules.’
      abide by, keep, adhere to, hold to, fulfil, make good
      View synonyms
  • stick together

    • Remain united or mutually loyal:

      ‘we Europeans must stick together’
      • ‘It's been really tough but the boys have stuck together to come through.’
      • ‘He said that it was important communities stuck together to fight crime and is hoping to set up a neighbourhood watch in the area.’
      • ‘We stuck together, shared what little we had, and loved and respected each other.’
      • ‘But the cast stuck together in Venice, where some of the questioning during a press conference grew nasty.’
      • ‘I knew that if they all stuck together they would pull it off.’
      • ‘‘We arrived at the place and no-one was there so we all stuck together,’ said Ted.’
      • ‘Most of my friends met their partners during their teens and have stuck together ever since.’
      • ‘Mutually relieved to find a friend, we stuck together in both class and playtime.’
      • ‘But the workers stuck together, supported their union and won the strike.’
      • ‘Through high school I noticed that the smarter kids stuck together.’
  • stick someone/thing up

    • Rob someone or something at gunpoint:

      ‘they had served time for sticking up a store in Akron, Ohio’
      • ‘Without protection, the addicts would have stuck him up every day.’
      • ‘When a carload of masked bandits tried to stick up the Bank of Millington on March 8, 1929, bank employees switched on an alarm.’
      • ‘He had robbed deliverymen three times over the previous week, sticking them up with a realistic-looking pellet gun.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My guess is that, having stuck up for him in the past, she believed in his innocence because he was never charged.’
      • ‘He stuck up for those that were helpless to defend themselves.’
      • ‘‘I had six older brothers and they always stuck up for me and protected me,’ he said.’
      • ‘He knew everything about me and stuck up for me all the time.’
      • ‘They did what most kids would do and stuck up for their parents.’
      • ‘After all, sticking up for what you believe in can get you into all kinds of scrapes and make you seriously unpopular with the powers that be.’
      • ‘My sister was actually sticking up for me, and standing up to our mother.’
      • ‘She didn't have an easy life, but she stuck up for her community and almost in spite of herself became an effective community leader.’
      • ‘It's like I don't even know who I'm sticking up for sometimes, who's side I should really be on.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • stick with

    • 1Persevere or continue with:

      ‘I'm happy to stick with the present team’
      • ‘Chick-lit novelists have stuck with this style, and their books continue to sell.’
      • ‘Despite the clay surface, he continues to stick with his serve-and-volley game.’
      • ‘I should have stuck with them but no, I just had to try something new!’
      • ‘She is happy to stick with St Andrew's Church in Wanborough for her wedding in August.’
      • ‘If you want to get ahead in life, you can start by sticking with the things you start.’
      • ‘More adventurous investors may be happy to stick with their tech funds given the improved outlook for the sector.’
      • ‘Many are happy to stick with routine tasks others might find dull.’
      • ‘I quickly became bored, and only stuck with it as long as I did because I knew I was going to review it.’
      • ‘He's proud that the young player stuck with it and is now reaping the rewards of his hard work and perseverance.’
      • ‘I'm sticking with my current software, which continues to work remarkably well.’
    • 2

      another way of saying stick by
      • ‘It was a testament to love that knows no bounds that my wife stuck with me for the three years we lived there.’
      • ‘But the parish council's highways committee stuck with its decision to name it St Nicholas Close.’
      • ‘He has kept his head and stuck with the things he believes in.’
      • ‘In any event, we're grateful to be back in business, and grateful that you stuck with us.’
      • ‘It may come as some surprise to those of you who have stuck with me through thick and thicker over the years that I'm not a natural athlete.’
      • ‘A part of me was tempted to read the whole thing out and see which jokes got laughs, but I'm not sure they would have stuck with me for that long.’
      • ‘‘Those who have stuck with me will be the ones who will benefit in the future,’ he says.’

Origin

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’).

Pronunciation

stick

/stɪk/