Entries linking to unstuck
prefix of negation, Old English un-, from Proto-Germanic *un- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German, German un-, Gothic un-, Dutch on-), from PIE *n- (source of Sanskrit a-, an- "not," Greek a-, an-, Old Irish an-, Latin in-), combining form of PIE root *ne- "not." Often euphemistic (such as untruth for "lie").
The most prolific of English prefixes, freely and widely used in Old English, where it forms more than 1,000 compounds. It underwent a mass extinction in early Middle English, but emerged with renewed vigor 16c. to form compounds with native and imported words. It disputes with Latin-derived cognate in- (1) the right to form the negation of certain words (indigestable/undigestable, etc.), and though both might be deployed in cooperation to indicate shades of meaning (unfamous/infamous), typically they are not.
It also makes words from phrases (such as uncalled-for, c. 1600; undreamed-of, 1630s; uncome-at-able, 1690s; unputdownable, 1947, of a book; un-in-one-breath-utterable, Ben Jonson; etc., but the habit is not restricted to un-; such as put-up-able-with, 1812). As a prefix in telegramese to replace not and save the cost of a word, it is attested by 1936.
Old English stician "to pierce, stab, transfix, goad," also "to remain embedded, stay fixed, be fastened," from Proto-Germanic *stik- "pierce, prick, be sharp" (source also of Old Saxon stekan, Old Frisian steka, Dutch stecken, Old High German stehhan, German stechen "to stab, prick"), from PIE *steig- "to stick; pointed" (source also of Latin instigare "to goad," instinguere "to incite, impel;" Greek stizein "to prick, puncture," stigma "mark made by a pointed instrument;" Old Persian tigra- "sharp, pointed;" Avestan tighri- "arrow;" Lithuanian stingu, stigti "to remain in place;" Russian stegati "to quilt").
Figurative sense of "to remain permanently in mind" is attested from c. 1300. Transitive sense of "to fasten (something) in place" is attested from late 13c. To stick out "project" is recorded from 1560s. Slang stick around "remain" is from 1912; stick it as a rude item of advice is first recorded 1922. Related: Stuck; sticking. Sticking point, beyond which one refuses to go, is from 1956; sticking-place, where any thing put will stay is from 1570s. Modern use generally is an echo of Shakespeare.
updated on March 03, 2014
the gears locked in second and would not come unstuck
a man with a mule got my car unstuck
price programs became unstuck because little grain was available