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Stick-in-the-mud

  • Stick-in-the-mud is an idiom that can be traced back to the 1730s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of stick-in-the-mud, where the term came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Stick-in-the-mud is used to denote someone set in his ways, someone who lacks a sense of adventure and does not appreciate change. The term stick-in-the-mud goes back at least to the 1730s. Though there are many apocryphal stories as to the origin of the term, in truth it is merely one of several phrases popular at that time such as stick-in-the-briers and stick-in-the-clay. The stick in this case is taken from the verb to stick meaning to stay in one place. Note that stick-in-the-mud is properly rendered with hyphens, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The plural form is sticks-in-the-mud. It is a mild insult, and is often used as an admonishment such as “don’t be a stick-in-the-mud.”

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    Examples

    I never got over feeling that the other doctors, especially Hill Harper’s stick-in-the-mud bureaucrat, were approaching autism in a way that seemed maybe 15 years behind the curve within the medical profession, with Richard Schiff as his kindly defender protesting “He’s not Rainman. He’s high-functioning,” as if Rainman were five years old and not nearly 30. (The Hollywood Reporter)

    I hate it when someone lets me in on a sexist joke, but what I hate more is that I still struggle for a way to show my objection without looking like a stick-in-the-mud. (The Telegraph)

    The bars will be open, the grills will be fired and everyone will be wearing green, so don’t be the stick-in-the-mud who wears black (what’s with those jerks who always wear black?). (The Riverfront Times)

     

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