Learner's definition of STICK
1 [count] : a cut or broken branch or twig
2 a : a long, thin piece of wood, metal, plastic, etc., that is used for a particular purpose b : a long, thin object that is used for hitting or moving a ball or puck in a game c : a stick that is used as a weapon— often used figuratively in British English
3 a : something that is long and thin like a stick— often + of b : a long piece of something that is usually wrapped in paper, plastic, etc. c : a solid substance that is sold in a tall container which is open at the top
a glue stick
a stick of deodorant
5 the sticks informal : an area in the country that is far away from towns and cities 6 [count], informal : punishment or the threat of punishment that is used to try to persuade someone to do something
◊ This sense of stick is often contrasted with carrot, which refers to the reward or advantage someone will get if they do something.
She'll have to choose between the carrot and the stick.
They say that a carrot works better than a stick.
The administration was criticized for its carrot-and-stick approach to foreign policy.
7 [noncount], British, informal
get on the stickUS, informal
: to start working hard at something that you have been avoiding doing
more than you can shake a stick at
stick to beat someone withBritish, informalorstick with which to beat someone
: something that is used to attack or punish someone or to make an attack or punishment seem reasonable or right
the short end of the stickchiefly US, informal
: unfair or unfavorable treatment
the wrong end of the stickchiefly British, informal
: an incorrect understanding of something
up sticksBritish, informal
: to pack up your belongings and move to a different place
sticks/ˈstɪk/; stuck/ˈstʌk/; sticking sticks/ˈstɪk/; stuck/ˈstʌk/; sticking
Learner's definition of STICK
always followed by an adverb or preposition
1 a [+ object] : to push (something usually sharp or pointed) into something
b [no object], of something usually sharp or pointed : to go partly into something: to have a part that has been pushed into something: to be partly inside something
He stuck a toothpick in/into the sandwich.
The jacket was too thick to stick a pin through.
The nurse stuck the needle into the patient's leg.
Stick these candles in the birthday cake.
The victim was found with a knife sticking out of her back.
darts sticking out of the wall
I saw a letter sticking (out) from his pocket. = I saw a letter sticking out of his pocket.
2 always followed by an adverb or preposition, [+ object], informal : to put (something or someone) in a specified place
He stuck [=tucked] the pencil behind his ear.
The dog stuck its head out the window.
She stuck [=pushed] the letter under the door.
She stuck [=reached] her hand into the box and pulled out a piece of paper.
The librarian stuck [=put] the book back on its shelf.
The little girl stuck her fingers in the batter.
The photographer stuck the shorter people in the front row.
The deer stuck its nose up in the air.
He pointed the gun at me and said “stick 'em up.” [=put your hands up in the air]
3 a always used before an adverb or preposition, [+ object], informal : to attach (something) to a surface with glue, tape, pins, etc.
b [no object] : to become attached to the surface of something
She stuck two stamps on the letter.
He stuck a note (up) on the door.
She stuck the pieces of wood together with glue.
— often + to
The suction cup wouldn't stick.
Several pages had stuck together.
Spray the pan with oil to keep the biscuits from sticking.
4 [no object] : to become difficult or impossible to move from a place or position
— often used figuratively
The door's handle has a tendency to stick.
That door always sticks.
Her foot stuck in the mud.
A piece of food stuck [=lodged] in her throat.
His words stuck in my mind. [=I remembered his words]
One of the kids called him “Stretch,” and the name stuck. [=everyone started calling him “Stretch”]
You can charge them with fraud, but you'll need more evidence if you want to make it stick. [=if you want them to be legally punished for fraud]
5 [+ object], British, informal : to deal with or accept (an unpleasant situation, experience, person, etc.)— usually used in questions and negative statements with can, can't, cannot, could, and couldn't
He couldn't stick the new job.
How can you stick being there all the time?
She can't stick his friends. [=she strongly dislikes his friends]
stick around[phrasal verb]informal
: to stay somewhere especially in order to wait for something or someone
stick at itBritish, informal
: to continue doing or trying to do something
stick at nothingBritish, informal
: to be willing to do anything in order to get or achieve something
stick by[phrasal verb]
stick by (someone or something)
: to continue to support or be loyal to (someone or something)
The troops stuck by [=stood by] their general to the end.
She stuck by [=stood by] her husband throughout the trial.
I stick by my promise. [=I still will do what I promised]
He stuck by what he said earlier.
stick it to (someone)US, informal
: to treat (someone) harshly or unfairly especially in order to get something for yourself (such as revenge or money)
Her political rivals used the scandal as an opportunity to stick it to her.
businesses that stick it to consumers by charging high fees
The government is really sticking it to the taxpayers.
stick like glueinformal
1 : to stay very firmly attached to something— often used figuratively 2 : to stay very close to someone
stick out[phrasal verb]
1 : to extend outward beyond an edge or surface 2 stick out (something) or stick (something) out : to extend (something, such as a body part) outward
She said “hello,” and stuck her hand out.
He stuck out his chest and walked away.
She was sitting with her feet stuck out in the aisle.
Stick out your tongue and say “ah.”
3 : to be easily seen or recognized 4 : to be better or more important than the other people or things in a group in a way that is easily seen or noticed 5 stick out (something)informal or stick (something) out : to continue doing (something unpleasant or difficult)
She stuck the job out for the remainder of the summer.
Though the home team was down by 20 points, a few fans stuck it out [=stayed and watched the game] until the very end.
6 stick out for (something)British, informal : to refuse to accept or agree to something in order to get (something)
stick out like a sore thumb
stick to[phrasal verb]
stick to (something)
: to continue doing or using (something) especially when it is difficult to do so
: to not change (a decision, belief, etc.)
She stuck to her story about the money already being missing when she got there.
Please stick to the script/subject/rules.
Stick to the marked trails.
If you want to succeed, you've got to stick to it! [=keep trying, working, etc.]
: to continue to support each other
stick up[phrasal verb]
1 : to extend upward above a surface 2 stick up for (someone)informal : to defend (someone) against attack or criticism
stick with[phrasal verb]informal
1 stick with (something) : to continue using or doing (something): to not change (a decision, belief, etc.) 2 stick (someone) with (something or someone) : to force (someone) to deal with (something or someone unpleasant)— often used as (be/get) stuck with
stick with (someone)
3 a : to stay close to (someone) in a race or competition b : to stay near (someone) in order to gain knowledge, protection, etc. c : to be remembered by someone for a very long time
stick your head above the parapet