Language: Old English
Origin: stician


1 verb
stick1 S3 W3 past tense and past participle stuck


[intransitive and transitive] to attach something to something else using a substance, or to become attached to a surface
stick something on/to/in etc something
Someone had stuck posters all over the walls.
stick to/together
I could feel my shirt sticking to my back.
The oil keeps the pasta from sticking together.
This stamp won't stick properly.

push in

[intransitive,transitive always + adverb/preposition]D if a pointed object sticks into something, or if you stick it there, it is pushed into it
stick (something) in/into/through something
pins stuck in a notice board
The boy stuck his finger up his nose.


[transitive always + adverb/preposition] informal to put something somewhere quickly and without much care [= bung]:
Just stick it in the microwave for a few minutes.
The cards had been stuck through the letterbox.

move part of body

[transitive always + adverb/preposition] if you stick a part of your body somewhere, you put it in a position where other people can see it [= put]:
Clara stuck her head around the door to see who was there.
The baby stuck his legs in the air.
Don't stick your tongue out, it's rude!

difficult to move

[intransitive] if something sticks, it becomes fixed in one position and is difficult to move:
This door keeps sticking.
The wheels stuck fast (=stuck completely) in the mud.

stick in somebody's mind

if something sticks in your mind, you remember it well because it is unusual or interesting:
It's the kind of name that sticks in your mind.

make something stick

a) to prove that something is true:
Is there enough evidence to make the charges stick?
b) to make a change become permanent:
The government has succeeded in making this policy stick.


[intransitive] if a name that someone has invented sticks, people continue using it:
One newspaper dubbed him 'Eddie the Eagle', and the name stuck.

somebody can stick something

spoken used to say angrily that you do not want what someone is offering you:
I told them they could stick their job.

stay in bad situation

[transitive] British English spoken to continue to accept a situation or person, even though you do not like them [= stand]:
I can't stick mum's new boyfriend.
can't stick doing something
Gerry can't stick working for Featherstone's any longer.
I don't know how you stick it.

stick in somebody's throat/gullet

British English stick in somebody's craw American English if a situation or someone's behaviour sticks in your throat, it is so annoying that you cannot accept it:
Her criticism really stuck in my craw.

stick in somebody's throat

if words stick in your throat, you are unable to say them because you are afraid or upset

stick to somebody's ribs

informal food that sticks to your ribs is very satisfying, so you are not hungry after you have eaten

; ➔ stick/poke your nose into something

at nose1 (3)

stick around

phrasal verb
to stay in a place a little longer, waiting for something to happen:
Perhaps you'd like to stick around and watch?
Tom will be sticking around for a while.

stick at something

phrasal verb
1 to continue doing something in a determined way in order to achieve something:
Revising with your friends may help you stick at it.

stick at nothing

informal to be willing to do anything, even if it is illegal, in order to achieve something
stick at nothing to do something
He will stick at nothing to make money.

stick by somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to remain loyal to a friend when they have done something wrong or have problems:
I love him and whatever happens I'll stick by him.
Jean has stuck by her husband through thick and thin.
2 to do what you promised or decided to do
stick by a decision/promise etc
He has stuck by his radical plans for economic reform.

stick out

phrasal verb
1 if something sticks out, you notice it because part of it comes out further than the rest of a surface:
The children were so thin their ribs stuck out.
stick out of/from/through etc
Paul's legs were sticking out from under the car.

stick it out

to continue doing something that is difficult, painful, or boring:
It wasn't a happy period of his life, but he stuck it out.

stick your neck out

informal to risk giving your opinion about something, even though you may be wrong or other people may disagree with you:
I'm going to stick my neck out with some predictions for the next two years.

stick out to somebody/stick out in somebody's mind

to seem more important to someone than other people or things:
The thing that sticks out to me is that they need more help than they're getting.

➔ stick/stand out a mile

at mile (5)

➔ stick out like a sore thumb

at sore1 (6)

stick out for something

phrasal verb
to refuse to accept less than what you asked for [= hold out for]:
They offered him £250 but Vic stuck out for £500.

stick to something

phrasal verb
1 to do or keep doing what you said you would do or what you believe in, even when it is difficult [= keep to]:
Have you been sticking to your diet?
stick to your decision/principles etc
Miguel was determined to stick to his decision.
It looks as if Nick will stick to his word this time.
2 to keep using or doing one particular thing and not change to anything else:
If you're driving, stick to soft drinks.
stick to doing something
Reporters should stick to investigating the facts.

stick to your guns

informal to refuse to change your mind about something, even though other people are trying to persuade you that you are wrong:
Having made up his mind, he stuck to his guns.

stick to the point/subject/facts

to talk only about what you are supposed to be talking about or what is certain:
Never mind whose fault it was. Just stick to the facts.

stick to the rules

informal to do something exactly according to the rules

stick to the path/road etc

to stay on a marked path or road so that you do not get lost

stick to the/your story

spoken to continue to say that what you have told someone is true, even though they do not believe you:
You intend to stick to this story that she knew nothing of your financial prospects?

stick to the/your knitting

American English informal to continue paying attention to your own work and not to get involved with what other people are doing:
I wish Mrs Reese would stick to her knitting.

stick it to somebody

American English informal to make someone suffer, pay a high price etc:
The politicians stick it to the tourists because the tourists don't vote.

stick together

phrasal verb
if people stick together, they continue to support each other when they have problems:
We're a family, and we stick together no matter what.

stick up

phrasal verb
1 if a part of something sticks up, it is raised up or points upwards above a surface
stick up from/out of/through etc
Part of the boat was sticking up out of the water.

stick 'em up

spoken informal used to tell someone to raise their hands when threatening them with a gun - used in films, stories etc

stick up for somebody

phrasal verb
to defend someone who is being criticized, especially when no one else will defend them:
You're supposed to be sticking up for me!
stick up for yourself
She's always known how to stick up for herself.

stick with something/somebody

phrasal verb
1 to continue doing something the way you did or planned to do before:
Let's stick with the original plans.
2 to stay close to someone:
You just stick with me. I'll explain everything as we go along.
3 to continue doing something, especially something difficult:
If you stick with it, your playing will gradually get better.

be stuck with something/somebody

to be made to accept something, do something, spend time with someone etc, when they do not want to:
Bill left and I was stuck with the bill.
5 to remain in someone's memory:
Those words will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Explore DAILY LIFE Topic