\ˈsti-kē \
stickier; stickiest

Definition of sticky 

1a : adhesive

b(1) : viscous, gluey

(2) : coated with a sticky substance

2 : humid, muggy also : clammy

3 : tending to stick

4a : disagreeable, unpleasant came to a sticky end

b : awkward, stiff

c : difficult, problematic a sticky situation

5 : excessively sentimental : cloying

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Other Words from sticky

stickily \ˈsti-kə-lē \ adverb
stickiness \ˈsti-kē-nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for sticky


damp, humid, muggy, sultry



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Examples of sticky in a Sentence

The sap is very sticky. There is a sticky substance on the table. The paint was still sticky. The weather was hot and sticky.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This week, things got sticky in several kitchens where contaminated and filthy ice were of concern to city health inspectors. Carolina Gonzales, Houston Chronicle, "Houston restaurant inspection citations for the week of June 5-12," 12 June 2018 Meadows expressed surprise at how sticky that had become. Tal Kopan And Lauren Fox, CNN, "House DACA talks prepare to enter new high-stakes stage," 11 June 2018 Besides the obvious gluey consistency, the sticky rice has a nice crispness around the edges, too. Lauren Delgado,, "Create your own Laotian feast at Sticky Rice," 30 Apr. 2018 My team was determined to have me try Spam Musubi, a sushi-style way of enjoying Spam where the meat is crisped, spiced or sauced and then placed between sticky rice and crispy nori. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Just Back From...Maui, Hawaii," 20 June 2017 While at times the navigation controls may feel a bit sticky, the issue never arises during critical moments and is only vaguely noticeable when leisurely exploring a new area. Patrick Shanley, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Detroit: Become Human' — Game Review," 24 May 2018 Complaints were myriad and mainly concerned the crowded space, long lines both to get in, and frat party-like floors sticky with mimosa. Kelly Conaboy, Bon Appetit, "I Went to BrunchCon, a Convention for People Who Love Brunch," 22 May 2018 The Miss Dessert signature yoji nectar ($5.99) — a blend of coconut, mango and grapefruit with little pearls of sticky rice — is a refreshing favorite that will become even more so when the thermometer hits 120. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Eat Here First in May: 3 new restaurants to try before everybody else does," 15 May 2018 But even that is going to get sticky in the coming months. John Canzano,, "Canzano: In final performance of the season, Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey goes on defense," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sticky.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sticky

1688, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Phrases Related to sticky

sticky fingers

sticky tape

Statistics for sticky

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sticky

The first known use of sticky was in 1688

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More Definitions for sticky



English Language Learners Definition of sticky

: having a substance (such as glue or honey) on it that things easily attach to : covered in a substance that things stick to

of a substance : tending to have things attach to it : tending to have things stick to it

: unpleasantly warm and humid


\ˈsti-kē \
stickier; stickiest

Kids Definition of sticky

1 : tending to cling like glue : adhesive sticky syrup

2 : coated with a substance that sticks to things My fingers are sticky.

3 : muggy, humid a sticky day

4 : tending to become blocked or jammed sticky windows

Other Words from sticky

stickiness noun

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Comments on sticky

What made you want to look up sticky? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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