Quicksticks

I don’t think I ever say this word to human beings – I reserve it for when my cat is being particularly obstructive. It sounds nicer than ‘get a sodding move on’.

SticksQuicksticks means ‘quickly’ or ‘without delay’. It is apparently shortened from the phrase in quick sticks. The meaning of quick here is ‘living or animate’ rather than ‘fast’.

It has been suggested that the stick referred to is a type of walking stick, but it might be more useful to compare it to stick as a nautical term for a mast or yard. That’s the sort of stick referenced in the phrase up sticks, meaning ‘to prepare to move’, ‘to pack up and go’, or ‘to remove oneself’.

I especially like this early usage from 1867:

“This is a bad business, Bob: if that ‘ere doctor ain’t here pretty quick-sticks,..it’s all over with this chap.” Example Better than Precept, M. A. Mackarness.

Quicksticks has a modern usage as a type of hockey, played to introduce children to the sport. It has 4 players on each side and uses a large, light ball.

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