Stick in the Mud

Meanings of “Stick in the Mud”

The phrase, “stick in the mud” refers to a person who is unwilling to accept any change. It also refers to a person who is old-fashioned or unprogressive.

Origin of “Stick in the Mud”

The phrase, “stick in the mud” is said to have its initial traces in, Thesaurus, written by Thomas Cooper published in 1565. Later, the first citation of this phrase is found in The General Evening Post, The London Newspaper as; “Fluster, alias Stick in the Mud, has made himself an Evidence, and impeached the above two Persons.”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

A Stick in the Mud by Trade Martin

A Stick In The Mud
That’s what you are…..,
You don’t have any fun…..,
You’ll never go far…….,
All you do is sit around…..,
And waste your time…..,
Doin’ shots at the bar…….,
A Stick In The Mud…..,
Is all you are….! ! !

This poem beautifully explains the meaning of this phrase and also addresses the person who is different from society. To him, this kind of person cannot enjoy the real pleasures of life. A person, with an indifferent approach, can never have fun in life; he can never go far in life. He can only sit in isolation and waste his precious time. The whole text revolves around a person who lacks a sense of adventurism and does not appreciate any change. This phrase has a denotative use, as it refers to the self-centered person; the one who loves to follow his own beliefs and never opens his heart to others.

Example #2

Miru and the Man-Spirit by From William Ellis

Spirit! pray what are mortals about?
Are kings hunting conquest, or lame with the gout?
Do they see in their subjects their own flesh and blood?
Answer me quickly, old Stick-in-the-Mud!

The above verse highlights the true meanings of this phrase. The poet addresses the person and questions him about things. He asks him about the mortals, king’s hunting conquest, and the bloodshed kings see in their courts. The speaker demands the answer from the person who has not changed over the course of time by calling him, old Stick-in-the-mud.

Example #3

Our Birds, by Siena Stubbs

There is a great, awkward, long-shanked fellow, called a HERON, whom you may see, at times, standing on the shore, or the edge of a marsh, stiff as a poker, demure as a quaker, and, to appearance, most stoically and heroically bent upon doing nothing. Hour after hour, you behold him keeping his station immoveable; do not imagine, however, that this moping dunderpate is asleep. Though his chin is sunk upon his breast, though his long neck is doubled up, and lying mightily at ease, depend upon it, old stick-in-the-mud is wide awake; his eye is bent upon the waters, his mandibles are set for a quick snap.

This nineteenth-century piece, Our Birds, uses this phrase in the metaphoric term.  The speaker in the above-stated paragraph talks about a bird; he describes its physical appearance and the way it stands upon the shore with its chin sunk upon its breast. No one can tell either the creature is sleeping or simply awaking. He compares it with the old stick in the mud that stays in the mud, immoveable and static.

Example #4

The Pleasures of Human Life by Hilaris

“Miseries,” we had never had these “Pleasures:” if we had not been “stuck in the mud.”

The nineteenth-century book, The Pleasures of Human Life, speaks about a person who has been happy enough to postpone his miseries for some time and is truly delighted to feel the change. The speaker who had been stuck in the mud address the miseries and says that one can never find the pleasures of life if we do not change the course of our life.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Your uncle is such a stick in the mud; he doesn’t like girls wearing trousers in the 21st century.”

Example #2: “Be sure to join in enthusiastically in our activities and ideas and above all, don’t be such a stick in the mud!”

Example #3: “I would not like to refer to Mr. Collins to ask for new ideas in the company because of the sticks-in-the-mud.”

Example #4: “There is a scene in last year’s Moneyball in which Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane is confronted by a long conference table of dreary-looking, uncomprehending, stick-in-the-mud veteran scouts.”

Example #5: “Still, in many ways, Chenoweth was playing against stereotypes about religious women and striving to make her screen namesake “not judgmental” and not “a stick in the mud”.

Example #6: “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.”