stick out

Idioms & Phrases

stick out

  1. Also, stick out a mile or like a sore thumb. Be very prominent or conspicuous, as in Dad's funny hat made him stick out in the crowd, or That purple house sticks out a mile, or John's lie sticks out like a sore thumb. The first term dates from the mid-1500s, the variants from the first half of the 1900s. The variant using thumb alludes to the propensity for holding an injured thumb stiffly, making it stand out (and thereby risking further injury).

  2. Continue doing something, endure something, as in I know you don't like it but you have to stick out the job for another month. [Late 1600s] A variant is stick it out, as in His new play's boring, but since he's my cousin we'd better stick it out. [Late 1800s] Also see stick it, def. 1.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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