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Word for the Wise September 14, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Sticks

A listener asked if we'd ever covered the topic of stick-in-the-mud. Since we'd prefer not to be tarnished with that label, we decided to tackle the question right away. (来源:最老牌的英语学习网站 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

A stick-in-the-mud is an "old fogy" or "one who is slow, old-fashioned, or unprogressive." The term has been around since the 1700s, and it's easy to understand its origin: a stick in the mud certainly moves slowly, if at all.

Stick-in-the-mud is hardly the only stick term to have lasted in our lexicon, but most of the other stick phrases are verbs, not nouns. Stick around while we look at a few stock stick phrases easily enough understood by native English speakers, but which, we would guess, might prove more challenging to non-native speakers.

If something sticks in one's craw, crop, or gizzard, it is difficult to digest, hard to accept, or offensive. When an utterance sticks in one's throat, it remains unexpressed. While we're stuck in this region of the body, we'll point out sticking one's neck out means to make oneself vulnerable by taking a risk.

Finally, the distinction between sticking it to someone and being stuck on someone is significant. To be stuck on someone is to be infatuated with him or her; sticking it to someone is treating him or her harshly or unfairly.

We stick at nothing when it comes to reminding you to write us.

 
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