\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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sticky

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for sticky


damp, humid, muggy, sultry



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But a sticky situation has arisen from the Illinois rally on Saturday, October 27. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Following Synagogue Shooting, Trump's Visit to Pittsburgh Was Met With Protests," 30 Oct. 2018 With its sticky spiderwebs and plastic pumpkins, Halloween decoration has an inherent kitsch-factor. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Can Halloween Home Decor Be Chic? These Items Make the Case," 26 Oct. 2018 Add two eggs to food processor and process until mixture resembles a sticky dough. Stephanie Eckelkamp, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make Cheddar-Bacon Dog Treats That Are Way Tastier Than Store-Bought," 5 Sep. 2018 Wearing tights with sticky pads on the bottom so her feet stay in her shoes at all times. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Has a Genius Hack To Keep Her Shoes and Tights from Slipping," 22 Aug. 2018 To avoid a sticky, doughy mess, place a disk of cookie dough between two sheets of parchment paper before flattening it with a rolling pin. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "This Best-Ever Sugar Cookie Recipe Will Get You in the Holiday Spirit," 19 Sep. 2018 There is an excessive heat warning in Philadelphia and Wednesday promises to be a hot, sticky mess. Mari A. Schaefer,, "Sun and food safety tips for the Fourth of July," 3 July 2018 The predicament extends not just to foundation—which can feel like an oppressive mask on a 100-degree day in mid-July—but to mascara as well, which dissolves into a sticky mess as the mercury rises. Celia Ellenberg, Vogue, "11 Melt-Proof Mascaras to Carry You Through the Summer," 27 June 2018 The dough Piazza is developing, in other words, is nearly half water by weight, making for a slippery, sticky mess that’s incredibly difficult to work with. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Roman Pizza in Phoenix? Piazza Romana, a new kind of pizzeria, opening in Avondale," 4 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of sticky

1688, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sticky

Statistics for sticky

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sticky

The first known use of sticky was in 1688

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on sticky

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sticky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sticky

Spanish Central: Translation of sticky

Nglish: Translation of sticky for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sticky for Arabic Speakers

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).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!