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Stuck vs. Struck: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 11, 2023
"Stuck" is the past participle of "stick" and often refers to being in a fixed position, while "struck" is the past tense of "strike" and means to hit or impact something.

Key Differences

"Stuck" primarily serves as the past participle of the verb "stick". It can describe something that has adhered to another object or a situation in which movement is restricted. For example, a piece of tape that adheres to a surface is "stuck", or a person unable to leave a room might say they are "stuck".
In contrast, "struck" is the simple past tense and past participle of the verb "strike". It relates to the act of hitting, impacting, or coming into sudden contact with something. For instance, if someone hits a drum, they have "struck" it, or lightning may have "struck" a tree.
"Stuck" can also portray being in an undesirable situation or a difficult position from which it's hard to extricate oneself. Someone might feel "stuck" in a boring job, suggesting they feel trapped or unfulfilled by their current occupation.
Conversely, "struck" can convey the idea of being profoundly affected or impressed by something. Someone can be "struck" by a brilliant idea or "struck" by the beauty of a sunset, indicating a deep emotional or cognitive response.
In essence, while both "stuck" and "struck" deal with interactions, "stuck" often denotes a static condition or situation, while "struck" highlights an action or a strong reaction to something.

Comparison Chart

Grammatical Form

Past participle of "stick"
Past tense and past participle of "strike"

Typical Usage

Describes being in a fixed position
Describes the act of hitting

Emotional Connotation

Feeling trapped or restricted
Being profoundly affected or impressed

Situational Context

Being unable to move or progress
A sudden or impactful event


Static or restrictive condition
Dynamic action or deep reaction

Stuck and Struck Definitions


In a difficult or problematic situation.
She felt stuck in her current job and yearned for a change.


Hit or impacted forcefully.
The ball struck the window.


Adhered to a surface or object.
The label stuck to the box.


Affected or impressed deeply.
I was struck by his eloquence during the speech.


Puzzled or uncertain about something.
I'm stuck on this math problem and need some help.


Created an impression or effect.
The news struck fear into everyone's hearts.


Past tense and past participle of stick.


Chose or adopted a particular method or approach.
He struck a deal with the competitor.


Unable to move.
Can you shift this gate? I think it’s stuck.
If you’ve had to battle a stuck zipper, you know how frustrating it can be.


Came into sudden contact.
Her head struck the door as she entered.


Unable to progress with a task.
I’m totally stuck on this question in the test.


Past tense and a past participle of strike.


Unable to progress or develop.
The negotiations were stuck due to disagreements.


Simple past tense and past participle of strike


No longer functioning, frozen up, frozen.
There are several ways to close a stuck program.


Affected or shut down by a labor strike.


In the situation of having no money.


(used in combination) affected by something overwhelming;


(obsolete) A thrust.


A thrust.


Caught or fixed;
Stuck in the mud


This problem has me completely stuck


Unable to move or be moved.
The car's wheels were stuck in the mud.


Can "stuck" refer to emotional situations?

Yes, someone can feel "stuck" in a relationship or job, indicating dissatisfaction.

What does "stuck" commonly imply?

"Stuck" often suggests being in a fixed or unmovable position or situation.

Is "stuck" always negative?

Not always, context is key. For instance, "stuck" can simply mean adhered to a surface.

How does "struck gold" relate to the word "struck"?

"Struck gold" is an idiom meaning someone has found or discovered something valuable or beneficial.

Can "stuck" indicate a temporary condition?

Yes, someone might be "stuck" in traffic, implying a temporary delay.

What does it mean when someone is "struck" by beauty?

It means they're deeply impressed or affected by the beauty they witnessed.

What does "struck out" mean in baseball?

It means the batter received three strikes and is out for that turn.

What does "struck a chord" mean?

It's an idiom meaning something resonated or had a meaningful impact on someone.

How is "struck" typically used in a sentence?

"Struck" describes the act of hitting or being deeply affected by something.

Is "struck down" a legal term?

Yes, it means to invalidate or nullify, often used in the context of laws or regulations.

Can "stuck" describe a feeling of confusion?

Yes, if someone doesn't understand something, they might say they're "stuck".

Can "stuck" refer to objects?

Yes, like when a piece of paper is "stuck" to a wall with tape.

Is "struck" used in music terminology?

Yes, when you hit a musical instrument, like a drum or piano key, it's "struck".

Is "being stuck" always permanent?

No, "being stuck" can be temporary or long-term, depending on the context.

What's the difference between "stuck on" and "struck on"?

"Stuck on" can mean fixated or adhered to something, while "struck on" isn't a common phrase.

How is "struck" used in the context of a clock?

A clock "strikes" an hour when it sounds the hour with chimes or bells.

Can "struck" refer to inspiration?

Yes, someone can be "struck" with a brilliant idea.

Can "stuck" refer to an inability to think?

Yes, someone might say they're "stuck" when they can't think of an answer.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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