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Shtick

Shtick is the most common spelling of the word referring to a stage routine or a performer’s characteristic style or gimmick. Schtick, the second most common spelling, appears about once for every three instances of shtick, and there are also the rarer forms shtik and schtik.

Shtik was the original spelling when the word came to English from the German stück (meaning piece) by way of Yiddish in the middle of the 20th century. In English, the word was originally American, but it has spread throughout the English-speaking world.

Though the word usually refers to a performer’s style or gimmick, it has been extended to refer to any routine style or characteristic, especially one expressed in speech, particular to a person or group of people. For example, if you have an annoying boss who makes empty threats to keep you on task, you could say that being annoying and making empty threats is his shtick.


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Examples

Letterman began by recapping the content of the videotape, doing his trademark, feigned-confusion shtick. [LA Times]

He is planning to write about Cuba, Rio and Ireland – a result not only of new curiosities but also a desire not to repeat himself; to prevent his style from becoming a shtick. [Guardian]

Drummond’s site, which expertly spins out her city-girl-turned-rural-maven shtick, is no down-home affair, receiving more than 20 million page views per month. [Globe and Mail]

The novel’s overcooked characterisation is not helped by a wafer-thin story-line that invariably buckles under the weight of Bourdain’s well-worn shtick. [The Australian]

Behind the shtick, Lisa Ann had a serious message, calling for legislation that would require condom use in hetero porn flicks. [Washington Post]

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