English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

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

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

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, 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, Rik, quotee, 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:
      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.
    • 1973, Barry White (lyrics and music), “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up”:
      I'm never ever gonna quit 'cause / Quittin' just ain't my shtick
    • 2001 April 22, William Safire, “Shtick”, in The New York Times[2], →ISSN:
      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.
    • 2023 October 20, Marina Hyde, “Rishi Sunak, decorated hero of the war on motorists, is no match for a real-world conflict”, in The Guardian[7], UK:
      Johnson’s approach to that deadly crisis was to only lightly repurpose his shtick into the equivalent of “Get Covid done”
  3. A gimmick.

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