from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A long slender piece of wood, especially.
  • noun A branch or stem that has fallen or been cut from a tree or shrub.
  • noun A piece of wood, such as a tree branch, that is used for fuel, cut for lumber, or shaped for a specific purpose.
  • noun A wand, staff, baton, or rod.
  • noun Sports A long thin implement with a blade or net on the end used to propel and control a puck or ball in hockey or lacrosse.
  • noun A walking stick; a cane.
  • noun Something that is long and thin.
  • noun Slang A marijuana cigarette.
  • noun The control device of an aircraft that operates the elevators and ailerons.
  • noun Informal A stick shift.
  • noun Nautical A mast or a part of a mast.
  • noun A group of bombs released to fall across an enemy target in a straight row.
  • noun Slang A group of paratroopers exiting an aircraft in succession.
  • noun A timber tree.
  • noun Informal A piece of furniture.
  • noun A poke, thrust, or stab with a stick or similar object.
  • noun A threatened penalty.
  • noun The condition or power of adhering.
  • noun A remote area; backwoods.
  • noun A city or town regarded as dull or unsophisticated.
  • noun Informal A person regarded as stiff, boring, or spiritless.
  • noun Obsolete A difficulty or obstacle; a delay.
  • intransitive verb To pierce, puncture, or penetrate with a pointed instrument.
  • intransitive verb To kill by piercing.
  • intransitive verb To thrust or push (a pointed instrument) into or through another object.
  • intransitive verb To jab or poke (a pointed or narrow instrument) into or against.
  • intransitive verb To place or position by pushing or thrusting.
  • intransitive verb To fix, impale, or transfix on a pointed object.
  • intransitive verb To cover or decorate with objects piercing the surface.
  • intransitive verb To fasten into place by forcing an end or point into something.
  • intransitive verb To fasten or attach with pins, nails, or similar devices.
  • intransitive verb To fasten or attach with an adhesive material, such as glue or tape.
  • intransitive verb Sports To execute (a landing or dismount) in gymnastics so that the feet do not move after they hit the ground.
  • intransitive verb To detain or delay.
  • intransitive verb Informal To confuse, baffle, or puzzle.
  • intransitive verb To prop (a plant) with sticks or brush on which to grow.
  • intransitive verb Printing To set (type) in a composing stick.
  • intransitive verb To cover or smear with something sticky.
  • intransitive verb Informal To put blame or responsibility on; burden.
  • intransitive verb Slang To defraud or cheat.
  • intransitive verb To be or become fixed or embedded in place by having the point thrust in.
  • intransitive verb To become or remain attached or in close association; cling.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English stikke, from Old English sticca; see steig- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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”).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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 *stikōnan (“to pierce, prick, be sharp”), from Proto-Indo-European *steig- or *stig- (“to pierce, prick, be sharp”).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


  • The vote in the legislature is veto-proof, so any request for Jindal to veto the bill *must stress that the governor can make this veto stick if he wants it to stick*.

    Help Needed In Louisiana

  • Compare also _He made the stick bend_ -- equaling _He made-bend _ (= bent) _the stick_ -- with _He made the stick straight_ -- equaling _He made-straight _ (= straightened) _the stick_.

    Higher Lessons in English A work on english grammar and composition

  • An "ideal" BMI sufferer putting on a few pounds of muscle by doing some judicious exercise might well stave off death for a bit longer; simply gorging on cakes probably won't help. recent calls for a BMI tax are now further exposed as foolishness, and the "fat people" that he rashly proposes to attack with a stick (any time, Coren - better make it a big stick*) have the consolation of knowing that they'll probably outlive him.

    The Register

  • The witch took the stick, waved it at the girl and said: "then this is your fortune; _through the woods and through the woods and out with a crooked stick_.

    Woodland Tales

  • But Leaders Without a Title stick to their knitting.

    The Leader Who Had No Title

  • Give us examples of how he is a Maverick instead of just trying to make the label stick!

    How’d they do? The best political team’s analysis

  • In the text pages of this comic, Feazell made readers an offer no longer good, I am guessing to send a free mini-comic to anyone who sent in their own drawing of the title stick-figure character, along with an SASE.

    Archive 2003-12-01

  • I don't recollect how long he held the office, but it was long enough to make the title stick to him for the rest of his life with the tenacity of a militia colonelcy or village diaconate.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 03, January, 1858

  • Then the can is put through a drying compartment to make the label stick quickly.

    All About Coffee

  • Not only did the term stick, but the practice of elected officials determining electoral boundaries continues today.

    University of Florida News


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  • "The number of twenty-five eels, or the tenth part of a bind, according to the old statute de ponderibus. Also called strike."

    -- from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

    March 2, 2018

  • Used to describe injections or needle pokes for the purpose either of delivering medicine, taking a sample of blood, or of introducting a catheter.

    The nurses will say so-and-so is a tough stick, meaning it's hard to get into a vein, or an easy stick, and good attendings will remind you to order all your labs at the same time, to avoid the number of sticks your patient has to endure.

    January 27, 2008