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[stik-uh l] /ˈstɪk əl/
verb (used without object), stickled, stickling.
to argue or haggle insistently, especially on trivial matters.
to raise objections; scruple; demur.
Origin of stickle
1520-30; variant of obsolete stightle to set in order, frequentative of stight to set in order, Middle English stighten, Old English stihtan to arrange; cognate with German stiften, Old Norse stētta to set up Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for stickle
Historical Examples
  • They stickle on points of honor, and will have the greatest repugnance to the occupation of their capital.

  • Cringe, in the sense of to constrain; and so to stickle, or haggle.

  • But the magistrate was not in a frame of mind to stickle for nicety of expression.

    Monsieur Lecoq, v.1 Emile Gaboriau
  • I am not disposed to stickle for this particular phraseology.

  • Tis no time now to stickle over means and remedies; let him cure me who can, or let me die if I must, I thought.

    Opium Eating Anonymous
  • stickle Pond is probably the best adapted of any of those available.

    The Passaic Flood of 1903 Marshall Ora Leighton
  • The interview ended with a present of half-a-bull to Micky from the convict, which the boy seemed to stickle at accepting.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost William Frend De Morgan
  • Why, in this manner—but you mustnt mind my speaking out: we know each other well enough not to stickle at formalities—eh?

    Dust Julian Hawthorne
  • And for my part, if I may not have 'scythe' I stickle for 'sige'—the undoubted original.

  • Such is the influence of Government, that the Devil will every where stickle mightily, to have that siding with him.

British Dictionary definitions for stickle


verb (intransitive)
to dispute stubbornly, esp about minor points
to refuse to agree or concur, esp by making petty stipulations
Word Origin
C16 stightle (in the sense: to arbitrate): frequentative of Old English stihtan to arrange; related to Old Norse stētta to support
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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