Alternative formsEdit


Borrowed from Yiddish שטיק(shtik, shtick, act, piece). Cognate with German Stück, Dutch stuk. Doublet of shtuka and steck.



shtick (plural shticks)

  1. A generally humorous routine.
    • 1974, Julian Barry, Lenny:
      Sally Marr: Lenny [Bruce] used to do a shtick between strippers. / The Interviewer: What kind of stick? / Sally Marr: No, it's shtick, darling, shtick.
    • 1991, Douglas Coupland, “Celebrities Die”, in Generation X, New York: St. Martin's Press, OCLC 22510632, page 111:
      Dag and I are drying glasses, a strangely restful activity, and we're listening to Mr. M. do his Mr. M. shtick. We feed him lines; it's like watching a Bob Hope TV special but with home viewer participation.
    • 1995, quoting Rik, MacUser, volume 11, MacUser Publications, page 147:
      But even great shtick can get old real fast: the dreaded Saturday Night Live syndrome.
    • 1997, David Foster Wallace, “David Lynch keeps his head”, in A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Kindle edition, Little, Brown Book Group:
      By its thirtieth episode, the show had degenerated into tics and shticks and mannerisms and red herrings, and part of the explanation for this was that [David] Lynch was trying to divert our attention from the fact that he really had no idea how to wrap the central murder case up.
    • 2009 June 8, Campbell Robertson, “In Iraq, Colbert Does His Shtick for the Troops”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      The troops didn’t seem to care much about the meta-ness of Mr. [Steven] Colbert’s visit, nor were they uneasy about his political shtick as they laughed at the gags about clearing Iraq of weapons of mass destruction []
  2. A characteristic trait or theme, especially in the way people or media present themselves.
    • 2001 April 22, William Safire, “Shtick”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Like you, I have stumbled through life without knowing what an umlaut signifies and looked it up today only because language is my shtick.
    • 2012 August 21, Jason Heller, “The Darkness: Hot Cakes (Music Review)”, in The Onion AV Club[3]:
      Self-mythology has always been part of The Darkness’ shtick, but here Hawkins and crew forget to back it up with music catchy enough to transcend the solipsism.
    • 2014 January 21, Hermione Hoby, “Julia Roberts interview for August: Osage County – 'I might actually go to hell for this…'”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review)[4], archived from the original on 2018-02-01:
      [] however hard she pushed the tough-talkin’ shtick, she remained doe-eyed, glowing and somehow unassailably demure.
    • 2016 April 7, Sabrina Siddiqui, “Ted Cruz: Republicans' only love, sprung from their refocused hate”, in The Guardian[5]:
      Whether [Ted] Cruz can, in fact, build the relationships he would need within the halls of the Capitol if he is to be the nominee – and whether doing so would undermine his anti-Washington shtick – remains an open-ended question.
    • 2017 October 4, Jonathan Freedland, “Boorish Boris: Johnson’s Libya joke is proof he cannot do his job”, in The Guardian[6]:
      Why, [Jacob Rees-]Mogg even offers the same shtick: Etonian accent, Latin tags, supposedly lovable Wodehousian eccentricity, sub-Churchillian evocation of the glorious past of this island race.
  3. A gimmick.


Further readingEdit