Pronunciation Noun


  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.
      Synonyms: branch, twig, rice, kindling, brush
      The beaver's dam was made out of sticks.
    2. A relatively long, thin piece of wood, of any size.
      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).
      Synonyms: two by four
      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.
      Synonyms: cane, walking stick
      I don’t need my stick to walk, but it’s helpful.
    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.
    7. (nautical) A mast or part of a mast of a ship; also, a yard.
    8. (figuratively) A piece (of furniture, especially if wooden).
      Synonyms: piece, item
      We were so poor we didn't have one stick of furniture.
  2. Any roughly cylindrical (or rectangular) unit of a substance.
    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).
      The recipe calls for half a stick of butter.
    2. A standard rectangular (often thin) piece of chewing gum.
      Don’t hog all that gum, give me a stick!
    3. (slang) A cigarette (usually a tobacco cigarette, less often a marijuana cigarette).
      Synonyms: joint, reefer
      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.
      My parents bought us each a stick of cotton candy.
    2. (archaic) A scroll that is rolled around (mounted on, attached to) a stick.
    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.
      Synonyms: train
  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.
      Synonyms: stickshift, gearstick
      I grew up driving a stick, but many people my age didn’t.
      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. (By convention, a wheel-like control mechanism with a handgrip on opposite sides, similar to the steering wheel of an automobile, is also called the "stick".)
    3. (aviation, uncountable) Use of the stick to control the aircraft.
    4. (computing) A memory stick.
    5. (dated, metal typesetting) A composing stick, the tool used by compositors to assemble lines of type.
    6. (jazz, slang) The clarinet.
      Synonyms: licorice stick, liquorice stick
  5. (sports) A stick-like item:
    1. (sports, generically) A long thin implement used to control a ball or puck in sports like hockey, polo, and lacrosse.
      Tripping with the stick is a violation of the rules.
    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.
      Synonyms: pin, flagstick
      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.
    2. (baseball) The potential hitting power of a specific bat.
    3. (baseball) General hitting ability.
    4. (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.
    2. (magic) An assistant plant#Verb|planted in the audience.
      Synonyms: plant, shill
    3. A stiff, stupidly obstinate person.
    4. (military aviation, from joystick) A fighter pilot.
    5. (military, South Africa) A small group of (infantry) soldiers.
  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.)
    2. (slang, uncountable) Corporal punishment; beatings.
    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!
    4. (slang) Vigorous driving of a car; gas.
  9. A measure.
    1. (obsolete) An English Imperial unit of length equal to 2 inches.
    2. (archaic, rare) A quantity of eels, usually 25.
      Synonyms: stich, broach
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: crosse
  • German: Hockeyschläger
  • Italian: stecca
  • Portuguese: bastão
  • Russian: клю́шка
  • Spanish: palo de hockey
  • German: Schaltknüppel
  • Italian: asta, barra, cambio
  • Portuguese: alavanca de câmbio, marcha
  • Spanish: palanca de cambios
Translations Translations
  • Italian: volante, barra di controllo
  • Spanish: palanca de mando

stick (sticks, present participle sticking; past and past participle sticked)

  1. (carpentry) To cut a piece of wood to be the stick member of a cope-and-stick joint.
  2. (transitive, printing, slang, dated) To compose; to set, or arrange, in a composing stick.
    to stick type
  3. (transitive) To furnish or set with sticks.

stick (uncountable)

  1. (motor racing) The traction of tires on the road surface.
  2. (fishing) The amount of fishing line resting on the water surface before a cast; line stick.
  3. A thrust with a pointed instrument; a stab.

stick (sticks, present participle sticking; past and past participle stuck)

  1. (intransitive) To become or remain attached; to adhere.
    • 1577, Raphaell Holinshed, “[(please specify the book title).] The Thirde Booke of the Historie of Ireland, Comprising the Raigne of Henry the Eyght: [...].”, in The Firste Volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande […], volume I, London: Imprinted [by Henry Bynneman] for Iohn Harrison, OCLC 55195564 ↗, pages 77–78 ↗, column 2:
      The Citizens in their rage, imagining that euery poſt in the Churche had bin one of y{{sup
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Psalms 119:31 ↗:
      I haue stucke vnto thy Testimonies: O Lord put me not to shame.
    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. (transitive) To tolerate, to endure, to stick with.
  4. (intransitive) To persist.
    His old nickname stuck.
  5. (intransitive) Of snow, to remain frozen on landing.
  6. (intransitive) To remain loyal; to remain firm.
    Just stick to your strategy, and you will win.
  7. (dated, intransitive) To hesitate, to be reluctant; to refuse (in negative phrases).
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 10,
      For thou art so possess’d with murderous hate
      That ’gainst thyself thou stick’st not to conspire.
    • 1712, John Arbuthnot, Law is a Bottomless Pit, London: John Morphew, Chapter 1,
      Some stick not to say, that the Parson and Attorney forg’d a Will, for which they were well Paid […]
    • 1716, Thomas Browne, Christian Morals, 2nd edition edited by Samuel Johnson, London: J. Payne, 1756, Part I, p. 12,
      Though a cup of cold water from some hand may not be without its reward, yet stick not thou for wine and oil for the wounds of the distressed […]
    • 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.
    • 1742, Samuel Richardson, Pamela, Volume 3, Letter 37, p. 375,
      For he that sticks not at one bad Action, will not scruple another to vindicate himself: And so, Devil-like, become the Tempter, and the Accuser too!
    • 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.
  8. (dated, intransitive) To be puzzled (at something), have difficulty understanding.
    • 1706, John Locke, Of the Conduct of the Understanding, Cambridge: J. Nicholson, 1781, pp. 48-49,
      He that has to do with young scholars, especially in mathematics, may perceive how their minds open by degrees, and how it is exercise alone that opens them. Sometimes they will stick a long time at a part of a demonstration, not for want of perceiving the connection of two ideas; that, to one whose understanding is more exercised, is as visible as any thing can be.
  9. (dated, intransitive) To cause difficulties, scruples, or hesitation.
    • 1708, Jonathan Swift, The Sentiments of a Church-of-England-Man, with respect to Religion and Government, in The Works of Jonathan Swift, 7th edition, Edinburgh: G. Hamilton et al., 1752, Volume I, Miscellanies in Prose, p. 73,
      […] this is the Difficulty that seemeth chiefly to stick with the most reasonable of those, who, from a mere Scruple of Conscience, refuse to join with us upon the Revolution Principle […] .
  10. (transitive) To attach with glue or as if by gluing.
    Stick the label on the jar.
  11. (transitive) To place, set down (quickly or carelessly).
    Stick your bag over there and come with me.
  12. (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
    • 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.
      • 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act III Scene 1
        Thou stickest a dagger in me: I shall never see my gold again: fourscore ducats at a sitting! fourscore ducats!
      • 1809, Grafton's chronicle, or history of England, volume 2, page 135:
        […] would haue [=have] sticked him with a dagger […]
      • 1814 July 6, [Walter Scott], Waverley; or, ’Tis Sixty Years Since. In Three Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, OCLC 270129598 ↗:
      • 1908, The Northeastern Reporter, volume 85, page 693:
        The defendant said he didn't shoot; "he sticked him with a knife."
  13. (transitive) To fix on a pointed instrument; to impale.
    to stick an apple on a fork
  14. (transitive, archaic) To adorn or deck with things fastened on as by piercing.
    • c. 1601–1602, William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or VVhat You VVill”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene iv]:
      my shroud of white, stuck all with yew
  15. (transitive, gymnastics) To perform (a landing) perfectly.
    Once again, the world champion sticks the dismount.
  16. (botany, transitive) To propagate plants by cuttings.
    Stick cuttings from geraniums promptly.
  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.
  20. (intransitive, US, slang) To have sexual intercourse with.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • French: coincer
  • German: steckenbleiben, stocken
  • Portuguese: emperrar
  • Russian: застрева́ть
  • Spanish: atascarse
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Adjective

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.

stick (plural sticks)

  1. (British, uncountable) Criticism or ridicule.


stick (plural sticks)

  1. (Ireland) A member of the Official IRA.
Synonyms Proper noun
  1. (musical instruments) The Chapman Stick, an electric musical instrument devised by Emmett Chapman.

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