Definition of unstick in English:



  • 1[with object] Cause to become no longer stuck together.

    ‘Urquhart sat upright in the bed and unstuck a bleary eye’
    • ‘‘This looks like the place,’ Kate said, trying to unstick a poster from her shoe.’
    • ‘‘I unstick them from their attachment to the saddle,’ she says.’
    • ‘Before the class I had been stuck and yoga unstuck me.’
    • ‘After dusting it off and unsticking two of the pages, he began to read.’
    • ‘We've oiled the lock, unstuck the door, cleared the vault of leaves and swept the place.’
    • ‘At 09:42, it is assumed that she heard ringing from inside the fridge as she was seen pulling the now unstuck door open by two eyewitnesses.’
    • ‘However these systems are not as satisfactory overall as full-time systems - it is not too difficult to unstick the rear wheels if you aren't careful, particularly on slippery roads.’
    • ‘Defragmenting the hard drive takes precedence over unsticking the deadbolt.’
    • ‘He clipped the ropes to the new anchors, rapped and unstuck the ropes (they were in the water too) and prussiced back up to the anchors.’
    • ‘I unstuck a Jaffa Cake from my left cheek and wriggled into a pair of jeans.’
    • ‘The key things for unsticking a rusted life, I found, were focus and fearlessness.’
    • ‘I've got to get out of the house early today, as it will take me quite a while to unstick my car from the ice-encrusted driveway.’
    • ‘‘I don't know,’ I whined, unsticking my shirt from my back.’
    • ‘He tried to move left, right, back, but his shirt was stuck fast to the roots and moving forwards to unstick himself was impossible against the force of the water.’
    • ‘Of course it's possible to unstick the rear wheels in corners, but you've really got to be going after hooligan thrills.’
    • ‘Without even thinking to check if the windows were open, he took his shirt off, too, wincing at the slippery, uncomfortable sensation that it evoked as the wet cotton unstuck itself from his skin.’
    • ‘Each of these scenarios illustrates people who are stuck and can be unstuck only by finding other people who have requisite knowledge and experience to move them to the next appropriate action.’
    • ‘Computer Help Desk technicians are greeted by office staff as saviors when they arrive to unstick a stuck PC.’
    • ‘‘Calm down,’ I said, unsticking her hair from her clammy face.’
    • ‘Becoming unstuck is most often accomplished through the serendipitous discovery and acquisition of another label.’
    make slack, slacken, slack, unstick
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  • 2British informal [no object] (of an aircraft) take off.

    ‘the aircraft refused to unstick’
    • ‘We unstuck, climbed out over Dar es Salaam Harbour, turned north, flew past Zanzibar and over the west coast of Pemba.’
    1. 2.1[with object]Cause (an aircraft) to take off.
      • ‘It’s also much harder to unstick the plane from the runway; in fact, it seems to want to settle right back down again.’


  • [in singular] The moment at which an aircraft takes off.

    [as modifier] ‘the minimum unstick speed’
    • ‘Next comes the minimum unstick speed, Vmu, which defines the point at which the aircraft could take off if the maximum possible rotation angle were reached.’


  • come (or get) unstuck

    • 1Become separated or unfastened.

      ‘one of her eyelashes had come unstuck’
      • ‘Unfortunately as attempts were made to haul the longboat off the rocks a rope came unstuck and struck one of the Islanders, almost severing their right elbow.’
      break up, fall to bits, fall to pieces, come to bits, come to pieces, disintegrate, splinter, come unstuck, crumble, separate, split, tear, collapse, dissolve
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      1. 1.1informal Fail completely.
        ‘all their clever ideas came unstuck’
        • ‘We will come unstuck because we are not generating wealth to rival public investment.’
        • ‘Sadly he failed to continue that form for long, coming unstuck in the ensuing round.’
        • ‘Anyone in any doubt about the importance of a good business plan should watch BBC2's Dragons' Den to get an idea of how a budding entrepreneur can come unstuck without one.’
        • ‘They failed to convince against unfancied Ireland and Wales, before coming unstuck against England and South Africa and finally slumping to a record defeat to old rivals New Zealand.’
        • ‘As an attacking golfer, he can come unstuck when he fails to play it safe.’
        fail, meet with failure, meet with disaster, miscarry, go wrong, go awry, fall through, fall flat, be frustrated, break down, collapse, founder, fold, come to nothing, come to naught
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