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See also: Stickle




Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English *stikel, *stykyl (in compounds), from Old English sticel (a prickle, sting, goad), from Proto-Germanic *stiklaz, *stikilaz (sting, stinger, peak, cup, goblet).


stickle (plural stickles)

  1. A sharp point; prickle; a spine
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English stikel, from Old English sticel, sticol (high, lofty, steep, reaching great heights, inaccessible), from Proto-Germanic *stikulaz, *stikkulaz (high, steep), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)teyg- (to stick; peak).


stickle (comparative more stickle, superlative most stickle)

  1. steep; high; inaccessible
  2. (Britain, dialectal) high, as the water of a river; swollen; sweeping; rapid


stickle (plural stickles)

  1. (Britain, dialectal) A shallow rapid in a river.
  2. (Britain, dialectal) The current below a waterfall.
    • W. Browne (Can we date this quote?)
      Patient anglers, standing all the day / Near to some shallow stickle or deep bay.

Etymology 3Edit

From a variant of stightle (to order, arrange, direct), from Middle English stightelen, stiȝtlen, stihilen, stihlen, equivalent to stight (to order, rule, govern) +‎ -le (frequentative suffix).


stickle (third-person singular simple present stickles, present participle stickling, simple past and past participle stickled)

  1. (obsolete) To act as referee or arbiter; to mediate.
  2. (now rare) To argue or struggle for.
    • 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:
      ‘She has other people than poor little you to think about, and has gone abroad with them; so you needn’t be in the least afraid she’ll stickle this time for her rights.’
  3. To raise objections; to argue stubbornly, especially over minor or trivial matters.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To separate, as combatants; hence, to quiet, to appease, as disputants.
    • Drayton (Can we date this quote?)
      Which [question] violently they pursue, / Nor stickled would they be.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To intervene in; to stop, or put an end to, by intervening.
    • Sir Philip Sidney (Can we date this quote?)
      They ran to him, and, pulling him back by force, stickled that unnatural fray.
  6. (intransitive, obsolete) To separate combatants by intervening.
    • Dryden (Can we date this quote?)
      When he [the angel] sees half of the Christians killed, and the rest in a fair way of being routed, he stickles betwixt the remainder of God’s host and the race of fiends.
  7. (intransitive, obsolete) To contend, contest, or altercate, especially in a pertinacious manner on insufficient grounds.
    • Hudibras (Can we date this quote?)
      Fortune, as she’s wont, turned fickle, / And for the foe began to stickle.
    • Dryden (Can we date this quote?)
      for paltry punk they roar and stickle
    • Hazlitt (Can we date this quote?)
      the obstinacy with which he stickles for the wrong
Derived termsEdit

Further readingEdit