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See also: Stickle



  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈstɪk(ə)l/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪkəl

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English *stikel, *stykyl (in compounds), from Old English sticel (a prickle, sting, goad), from Proto-Germanic *stiklaz, *stikilaz (sting, stinger, peak, cup, goblet), related to the verb *stikaną (to stick).


stickle (plural stickles)

  1. A sharp point; prickle; a spine
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English stikel, from Old English sticel, sticol (high, lofty, steep, reaching great heights, inaccessible), from Proto-Germanic *stikulaz, *stikkulaz (high, steep), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)teyg- (to stick; peak).


stickle (comparative more stickle, superlative most stickle)

  1. steep; high; inaccessible
  2. (UK, dialect) high, as the water of a river; swollen; sweeping; rapid


stickle (plural stickles) (Britain, dialectal)

  1. A shallow rapid in a river.
  2. The current below a waterfall.
    • 1616, William Browne, “The Fourth Song”, in Britannia’s Pastorals. The Second Booke, London: [] Iohn Haviland, published 1625, →OCLC, page 143:
      [P]atient Anglers ſtanding all the day / Neere to ſome ſhallovv ſtickle or deepe bay.

Etymology 3[edit]

From a variant of stightle (to order, arrange, direct), from Middle English stightelen, stiȝtlen, stihilen, stihlen, equivalent to stight (to order, rule, govern) +‎ -le (frequentative suffix).


stickle (third-person singular simple present stickles, present participle stickling, simple past and past participle stickled)

  1. (obsolete) To act as referee or arbiter; to mediate.
  2. (now rare) To argue or struggle for.
    • 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:
      ‘She has other people than poor little you to think about, and has gone abroad with them; so you needn’t be in the least afraid she’ll stickle this time for her rights.’
  3. To raise objections; to argue stubbornly, especially over minor or trivial matters.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To separate, as combatants; hence, to quiet, to appease, as disputants.
    • 1630, Michael Drayton, The Muses' Elizium
      Which [question] violently they pursue, / Nor stickled would they be.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To intervene in; to stop, or put an end to, by intervening.
  6. (intransitive, obsolete) To separate combatants by intervening.
  7. (intransitive, obsolete) To contend, contest, or altercate, especially in a pertinacious manner on insufficient grounds.
Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]