stick

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English stikke (stick, rod, twig), from Old English sticca (rod, twig), from Proto-Germanic *stikkô, from Proto-Indo-European *steig- or *stig- (to pierce, prick, be sharp).

Noun[edit]

stick (plural sticks)

  1. An elongated piece of wood or similar material, typically put to some use, for example as a wand or baton.
    1. A small, thin branch from a tree or bush; a twig; a branch. syn. transl.
      The beaver's dam was made out of sticks.   The bird's nest was made out of sticks.
      a stick of wood
      • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, American Scientist, volume 101, number 4: 
        Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame.
    2. A relatively long, thin piece of wood, of any size. transl.
      I found several good sticks in the brush heap.   What do you call a boomerang that won't come back? A stick.
    3. (US) A timber board, especially a two by four (inches).
      I found enough sticks in dumpsters at construction sites to build my shed.
    4. A cane or walking stick (usually wooden, metal or plastic) to aid in walking. syn. transl.
      I don’t need my stick to walk, but it’s helpful.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 23, The Mirror and the Lamp:
        The slightest effort made the patient cough. He would stand leaning on a stick and holding a hand to his side, and when the paroxysm had passed it left him shaking.
    5. A cudgel or truncheon (usually of wood, metal or plastic), especially one carried by police or guards.
      As soon as the fight started, the guards came in swinging their sticks.
    6. (carpentry) The vertical member of a cope-and-stick joint.
      • 1997, Joseph Beals, “Building Interior Doors”, in Doors, Taunton Press, ISBN 1561582042, page 82:
        When cutting the door parts, I cut all the copes first, then the sticks.
    7. (figuratively) A piece (of furniture, especially if wooden). usage syn.
      We were so poor we didn't have one stick of furniture.
      • 1862, W.M. Thackeray, The Adventures of Philip, edition printed in Harper's New Monthly Magazine Vol. XXV, page 242:
        It is more than poor Philip is worth, with all his savings and his little sticks of furniture.
  2. Any roughly cylindrical (or rectangular) unit of a substance. transl.
    Sealing wax is available as a cylindrical or rectangular stick.
    1. (chiefly North America) A small rectangular block, with a length several times its width, which contains by volume one half of a cup of shortening (butter, margarine or lard).
      a stick of butter
      The recipe calls for half a stick of butter.
    2. A standard rectangular (often thin) piece of chewing gum. transl.
      Don’t hog all that gum, give me a stick!
      a stick of gum
    3. (slang) A cigarette (usually a tobacco cigarette, less often a marijuana cigarette). syn.
      Cigarettes are taxed at one dollar per stick.
  3. Material or objects attached to a stick or the like.
    1. A bunch of something wrapped around or attached to a stick.
      (US) My parents bought us each a stick of cotton candy.
    2. (archaic) A scroll that is rolled around (mounted on, attached to) a stick.
      • 1611, The Bible, edition King James Version, Ezekiel 37:16:
        Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it []
    3. (military) The structure to which a set of bombs in a bomber aircraft are attached and which drops the bombs when it is released. The bombs themselves and, by extension, any load of similar items dropped in quick succession such as paratroopers or containers. syn.
  4. A tool, control, or instrument shaped somewhat like a stick.
    1. (US, colloquial) A manual transmission, a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission, so called because of the stick-like, i.e. twig-like, control (the gear shift) with which the driver of such a vehicle controls its transmission. syn. transl.
      I grew up driving a stick, but many people my age didn’t.
      the gear-shift lever in a manual transmission car
      1. (US, colloquial, uncountable) Vehicles, collectively, equipped with manual transmissions.
        I grew up driving stick, but many people my age didn't.
    2. (aviation) The control column of an aircraft; a joystick. transl. (By convention, a wheel-like control mechanism with a handgrip on opposite sides, similar to the steering wheel ofan automobiles, is also called the "stick".)
    3. (aviation, uncountable) Use of the stick to control the aircraft.
      • 1941, Jay D. Blaufox, 33 Lessons in Flying, page 47:
        For example: in making a turn, should you throw on too much stick and not enough rudder, you'll sideslip.
    4. (computing) A memory stick.
      • 2007 May 1, Alex Fethiere, “Business Traveler”:
        For ultimate presentation portability, a Powerpoint can be saved to a stick as images.
    5. (dated, letterpress typography) A composing stick, the tool used by compositors to assemble lines of type.
      • 1854, Thomas Ford, The Compositor's Handbook, page 125:
        [] although the headings may often be in other type, still, as these are composed in the same stick, they cannot fail to justify; []
    6. (jazz, slang) The clarinet. (more often called the liquorice stick) syn.
      • 1948, Frederic Ramsey, Jr., “Deep Sea Rider”, in Charles Harvey editor, Jazz Parody: Anthology of Jazz Fiction:
        Arsene, boy, ain't you worried about your clarinet? Where'd you leave that stick, man?
  5. (sports) A stick-like item:
    two hockey sticks, for the goalie at right
    1. (sports, generically) A long thin implement used to control a ball or puck in sports like hockey, polo, and lacrosse. transl.
      Tripping with the stick is a violation of the rules.
      a lacrosse stick
    2. (horse racing) The short whip carried by a jockey.
    3. (boardsports) A board as used in board sports, such as a surfboard, snowboard, or skateboard.
    4. (golf) The pole bearing a small flag that marks the hole. syn.
      His wedge shot bounced off the stick and went in the hole.
    5. (US, slang, uncountable) The cue used in billiards, pool, snooker, etc.
      His stroke with that two-piece stick is a good as anybody's in the club.
      1. The game of pool, or an individual pool game.
        He shoots a mean stick of pool.
  6. (sports, uncountable) Ability; specifically:
    1. (golf) The long-range driving ability of a golf club.
      • 1988, William Hallberg, The Rub of the Green, page 219:
        I doubted that the three iron was enough stick.
    2. (baseball) The potential hitting power of a specific bat.
    3. (baseball) General hitting ability.
      • 2002 May 19, Mike Lupica, “Just Need A Little Mo”:
        Vaughn has to hit and keep hitting or this will be another year when the Mets don't have enough stick to win.
    4. (field hockey or ice hockey) The potential accuracy of a hockey stick, implicating also the player using it.
  7. (slang, dated) A person or group of people. (Perhaps, in some senses, because people are, broadly speaking, tall and thin, like pieces of wood.)
    1. A thin or wiry person; particularly a flat-chested woman.
      • 1967, Cecelia Holland, Rakóssy, page 39:
        "She's a stick, this one. She lacks your—" he patted her left breast— "equipment."
    2. (magic) An assistant planted in the audience. syn.
      • 2001, Paul Quarrington, The Spirit Cabinet, page 255:
        The kid was a stick, a plant, a student from UNLV who picked up a few bucks nightly by saying the words "seven of hearts."
    3. (military aviation, from joystick) A fighter pilot.
    4. (military, South Africa) A small group of (infantry) soldiers.
      • 2007, Bart Wolffe, Persona Non Grata, ISBN 1430304774, page 245:
        I remember when we dreaded the rain, as our stick of soldiers walked through the damp, tick-infested long grass of the Zambezi valley, []
  8. Encouragement or punishment, or (resulting) vigour or other improved behavior.
    1. A negative stimulus or a punishment. (This sense derives from the metaphor of using a stick, a long piece of wood, to poke or beat a beast of burden to compel it to move forward. Compare carrot.)
      • 1998 January 23, Indian Express, “Judicial activism has ushered in hope”:
        What about contempt? Isn't it used by the judiciary as a stick to dissuade people from writing or talking about them?
    2. (slang, uncountable) Corporal punishment; beatings.
      • 1999, Eve McDougall, A Wicked Fist, ISBN 190155709X, page 69:
        The child killers got some stick. I saw a woman throw a basin of scalding water over a baby killer.
    3. (slang) Vigor; spirit; effort, energy, intensity.
      He really gave that digging some stick. = he threw himself into the task of digging
      She really gave that bully some stick. = she berated him (this sense melts into the previous sense, "punishment")
      Give it some stick!
      • 1979, Don Bannister, Sam Chard, ISBN 071000219X, page 185:
        'Choir gave it some stick on "Unto Us a Son is Born."' ¶ Cynthia nodded. ¶ 'It was always one of Russell's favourites. He makes them try hard on that.'
    4. (slang) Vigorous driving of a car; gas.
      • 2006, Martyn J. Pass & Dani Pass, Waiting for Red, ISBN 1905237553, page 163:
        Skunk really gave it some stick all the way to Caliban's place, we passed a good few Coppers but they all seemed to turn the blind eye.
  9. A measure.
    1. (obsolete) An English Imperial unit of length equal to 2 inches.
      • 1921, Elmer Davis, History of the New York Times, 1851-1921, page 61:
        There was another speech in that day's news — a speech which The Times printed on the front page because it was part of a front-page story, and in full — it was only two sticks long; printed in full just after the much longer invocation by the officiating clergyman []
    2. (archaic, rare) A quantity of eels, usually 25. syn.
Usage notes[edit]
  • (furniture def. syn.): Generally used in the negative, or in contexts expressive of poverty or lack.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Note: Terms derived from the verb are found further below.

Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb[edit]

stick (third-person singular simple present sticks, present participle sticking, simple past and past participle sticked)

  1. (carpentry) To cut a piece of wood to be the stick member of a cope-and-stick joint.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English stiken (to stick, pierce, stab, remain embedded, be fastened), from Old English stician (to pierce, stab, remain embedded, be fastened), from Proto-Germanic *stikōną (to pierce, prick, be sharp) (compare also the related *stikaną, whence West Frisian stekke, Low German steken, Dutch steken, German stechen; compare also Danish stikke, Swedish sticka), from Proto-Indo-European *steig- or *stig- (to pierce, prick, be sharp).

Cognate to first etymology (same PIE root, different paths through Germanic and Old English), to stitch, and to etiquette, via French étiquette – see there for further discussion.

Noun[edit]

stick (uncountable)

  1. (auto racing) The traction of tires on the road surface.
  2. (fishing, uncountable) The amount of fishing line resting on the water surface before a cast; line stick.
    • 2004, Simon Gawesworth, Spey Casting[1], ISBN 0811701042, page 47:
      Problem: A lot of stick and a lack of energy on the forward stroke.
  3. A thrust with a pointed instrument; a stab.

Verb[edit]

stick (third-person singular simple present sticks, present participle sticking, simple past and past participle stuck or (archaic) sticked)

  1. (intransitive) To become or remain attached; to adhere.
    The tape will not stick if it melts.
  2. (intransitive) To jam; to stop moving.
    The lever sticks if you push it too far up.
  3. (intransitive) To tolerate, to endure, to stick with.
    • 1998, Patrick McEvoy, Educating the Future GP: the course organizer's handbook, page 7:
      Why do most course organizers stick the job for less than five years?
  4. (intransitive) To persist.
    His old nickname stuck.
    • 2011 December 10, David Ornstein quoting David Moyes, “Arsenal 1-0 Everton”, BBC Sport:
      "Our team did brilliantly to be in the game. We stuck at it and did a good job. This is disappointing but we'll think about the next game tomorrow."
  5. (intransitive) Of snow, to remain frozen on landing.
  6. (intransitive) To remain loyal; to remain firm.
    • 2007, Amanda Lamb, Smotherhood: Wickedly Funny Confessions from the Early Years:
      What I get from work makes me a better mother, and what I get from being a mother makes me a better journalist. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
    Just stick to your strategy, and you will win.
  7. (intransitive) To hesitate, to be reluctant; to refuse.
    • 1743, Thomas Stackhouse, A Compleat Body of Speculative and Practical Divinity, edition 3 (London), page 524:
      The First-fruits were a common Oblation to their Deities; but the chief Part of their Worship consisted in sacrificiing Animals : And this they did out of a real Persuasion, that their Gods were pleased with their Blood, and were nourished with the Smoke, and Nidor of them; and therefore the more costly, they thought them the more acceptable, for which Reason, they stuck not sometimes to regale them with human Sacrifices.
    • 1740, James Blair, Our Saviour's divine sermon on the mount [...] explained, volume 3, page 26:
      And so careful were they to put off the Honour of great Actions from themselves, and to centre it upon God, that they stuck not sometimes to depreciate themselves that they might more effectually honour him.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Locke
      They will stick long at part of a demonstration for want of perceiving the connection of two ideas.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Arbuthnot
      Some stick not to say, that the parson and attorney forged a will.
  8. (dated, intransitive) To cause difficulties, scruples, or hesitation.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Jonathan Swift
      This is the difficulty that sticks with the most reasonable.
  9. (transitive) To attach with glue or as if by gluing.
    Stick the label on the jar.
  10. (transitive) To place, set down (quickly or carelessly).
    Stick your bag over there and come with me.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Afore we got to the shanty Colonel Applegate stuck his head out of the door. His temper had been getting raggeder all the time, and the sousing he got when he fell overboard had just about ripped what was left of it to ravellings.
  11. (transitive) To press (something with a sharp point) into something else.
    The balloon will pop when I stick this pin in it.
    to stick a needle into one's finger
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      The points of spears are stuck within the shield.
    1. (transitive, now only in dialects) To stab.
      • circa 1583, John Jewel, in a sermon republished in 1847 in The Works of John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, portion 2, page 969:
        In certain of their sacrifices they had a lamb, they sticked him, they killed him, and made sacrifice of him: this lamb was Christ the Son of God, he was killed, sticked, and made a sweet-smelling sacrifice for our sins.
      • 1809, Grafton's chronicle, or history of England, volume 2, page 135:
        [] would haue [=have] sticked him with a dagger []
      • (Can we date this quote?) Sir Walter Scott
        It was a shame [] to stick him under the other gentleman's arm while he was redding the fray.
      • 1908, The Northeastern Reporter, volume 85, page 693:
        The defendant said he didn't shoot; "he sticked him with a knife."
  12. (transitive) To fix on a pointed instrument; to impale.
    to stick an apple on a fork
  13. (transitive, archaic) To adorn or deck with things fastened on as by piercing.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      my shroud of white, stuck all with yew
  14. (transitive, gymnastics) To perform (a landing) perfectly.
    Once again, the world champion sticks the dismount.
  15. (transitive) To propagate plants by cuttings.
    Stick cuttings from geraniums promptly.
  16. (transitive, printing, slang, dated) To compose; to set, or arrange, in a composing stick.
    to stick type
  17. (transitive, joinery) To run or plane (mouldings) in a machine, in contradistinction to working them by hand. Such mouldings are said to be stuck.
  18. (dated, transitive) To bring to a halt; to stymie; to puzzle.
    to stick somebody with a hard problem
  19. (transitive, slang, dated) To impose upon; to compel to pay; sometimes, to cheat.
Derived terms[edit]

Note: Terms derived from the noun are found above.

Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
See also[edit]

Adjective[edit]

stick (comparative sticker, superlative stickest)

  1. (informal) Likely to stick; sticking, sticky.
    A non-stick pan. A stick plaster.
    A sticker type of glue. The stickest kind of gum.
Usage notes[edit]
  • The adjective is more informal than nonstandard due to the prevalence of examples such as "non-stick pan" or "stick plaster".
  • The comparative and superlative remain nonstandard (vs. stickier and stickiest) and are sometimes seen inbetween quotation marks to reflect it.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Possibly a metaphorical use of the first etymology ("twig, branch"), possibly derived from the Yiddish schtick.

Noun[edit]

stick (plural sticks)

  1. (UK, uncountable) Criticism or ridicule.
    • 2008 May 3, Chris Roberts, “It’s a stroll in the park!”:
      I got some stick personally because of my walking attire. I arrived to training fully kitted out in sturdy walking boots.

Anagrams[edit]


Chinook Jargon[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From English stick.

Noun[edit]

stick

  1. stick
  2. wood, firewood

German[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

stick

  1. Imperative singular of sticken.
  2. (colloquial)First-person singular present of sticken.

Swedish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

stick n

  1. a sting; a bite from an insect
  2. (card games) a trick

Declension[edit]

Verb[edit]

stick

  1. imperative of sticka.