the sticks

the sticks (uncountable)

  1. (informal, pejorative) A remote, rural area; a place that is removed from civilization such as the boondocks. Possibly derived from 1800s Chinook jargon stick = “tree”, “forest”, from English “stick”.
    She grew up in the sticks and later moved to the city.
    • 1904 The American Missionary, "A Town of Colored People in Mississippi" by Rev. B.F. Ousley, vol. 58, no. 9 (November, 1904), p. 295:
      Most of the farming at present is done in the "sticks," that is, in the large, dead, and often blackened trunks of trees standing in most of the cultivated fields around. There are but few new towns in the Delta where the "sticks" are not to be seen, and much damage is sometimes done when these old "deadenings," as they are called, are set on fire.
    Synonyms: backwoods, boonies, boondocks, hinterland, middle of nowhere, see also: Thesaurus:remote place
  2. (American football) The set of yardage markers used by a chain crew to indicate the ten yards between the line of scrimmage from the previous first down and the line to gain, which the offense must reach in their series of four downs in order to retain possession of the ball.
    They gained just enough on that play to move the sticks and continue the drive.
    Synonyms: the chains, the yardsticks

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