sticking point

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sticking point (plural sticking points)

  1. (idiomatic) A disputed issue or state of affairs that causes an interruption or outright impasse in progress towards some goal or resolution, especially in negotiation or argumentation.
    • 1934 July 30, “41,000 Years' Work”, in Time:
      The question of representing inside workers was a sticking point.
    • 2002, H. Robert Hall, "Casey and the Negotiation of the Antarctic Treaty" in Jabour-Green, J. & Haward, M. (eds.) The Antarctic: Past, Present and Future: Antarctic CRC Research Report #28, Hobart, pp.27-33:
      A major sticking point had arisen over draft article IV of the proposed treaty dealing with the disputed Antarctic claims and rights.
    • 2022 December 14, Mel Holley, “Network News: Strikes go on as RMT rejects RDG's "detrimental" offer”, in RAIL, number 972, page 8:
      A key sticking point is RDG's requirement of introducing driver-only operation (DOO) on all routes where it can be installed now, and for all future new train deliveries.
    • 2024 March 8, Ellen Townsend – Policy Director, “Opinion – Will Foreign Drivers Continue Getting Away with Breaking the Law?”, in ETSC:
      The sticking point is over whether the legislation can be used for enforcement of ‘Urban Vehicle Access Regulations’ (UVARs) such as the Stockholm congestion charge, or the Brussels low emissions zone (which bans the most polluting vehicles).
  2. (idiomatic, dated) The point at which a process or thing, especially a state of mind or emotion, reaches its greatest strength and remains steadfast; sticking-place.
    • 1842, James Fennimore Cooper, chapter 4, in The Wing and Wing:
      It warmed his feelings to the sticking point.
    • 1913, Lucy Maud Montgomery, chapter 3, in The Golden Road:
      I could not screw my courage to the sticking point.