It is when "stick" is used as an intransitive verb that makes me feel confused, so please help me with the following two sentences. The first one is from the script of a video game called "Disco Elysium." When Kim introduces Martinaise (a city destroyed by war) to the player, he mentions "a revitalization project in '49" that aims to "[restore it] to its pre-war glory." He then concludes, however, that

"it didn't stick."

The second example is from an interview, and the interviewee is talking about researchers' observation of how most consumers adopt ads:

"They wanna see if this is a trend, or if this is gonna stick."

I suppose that the word "stick" in these two sentences may have different meanings, but I'm not sure if I was right.

  • 1
    Did you consult a dictionary? Also please use blockquotes (> at the start of a line) instead of code blocks—you're not programming.
    – Laurel
    Jan 5 at 14:15
  • Yes, both rely on the same meaning of succeeding. Jan 5 at 14:27
  • 1
    I think the intransitive sense in question has somewhat more to do with duration than success. Jan 5 at 15:50
  • If you adhere something to a wall and it doesn't stick, it falls off the wall — that is, it does not endure. Your uses mean the same thing, except figuratively. Jan 5 at 22:28

1 Answer 1


Perhaps not too easy to pinpoint these senses in a dictionary. I'd say that in the first example you give stick is an informal variant on intransitive

  • 'last' / 'endure' / 'persist' (in the non-sentient sense) / 'continue'.

Merriam-Webster has:

  • stick [intransitive verb] [2c]: 'to remain effective',

which is close.

Longmann has:

  • stick [verb] [8] [NAME] [intransitive]: if a name that someone has invented sticks, people continue using it
  • One newspaper dubbed him ‘Eddie the Eagle’, and the name stuck.

And in the UK at least, if snow doesn't melt right away, we often say 'The snow's sticking.'


The ' ... trend or ...' in the second example does indeed imply a contrasting sense; I'd say it's an (again informal, at least in the UK) equivalent to

  • 'falter', 'stall', 'come to a standstill':

Collins has:

  • stick [9] [verb] [intransitive] [B1+]:
  • If something which can usually be moved sticks, it becomes fixed in one position.

Compare 'being stuck' on a difficult question or in a traffic jam.

  • 1
    Yes, they all amount to adhering. Jan 5 at 19:41

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