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Struck vs. Stuck — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on October 25, 2023
"Struck" is the past tense of "strike" meaning to hit, while "Stuck" is the past tense of "stick" meaning to adhere or be trapped.
Struck vs. Stuck — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Struck and Stuck


Key Differences

Struck is most commonly understood as the past form of "strike," which involves a forceful motion or action. On the other hand, Stuck serves as the past and past participle form of "stick," often denoting adherence or an inability to move. Both words, although sounding similar, have distinct connotations.
When an object is struck, it receives a force, be it from a hand, tool, or another object. Conversely, when something is stuck, it finds itself trapped, either physically or metaphorically, unable to progress or be freed.
For instance, lightning struck a tree during a storm, suggesting a powerful, rapid action. In contrast, if gum is stuck on a shoe, it implies that the gum adheres to the shoe, resisting easy removal.
The similarities between struck and stuck can sometimes cause confusion. Yet, the context in which they are used often clears up any ambiguity. A clock, for example, might be struck twelve times, indicating a repeated hitting action. But if you're stuck in traffic, you're in a situation where movement is temporarily halted.
Lastly, both struck and stuck can be employed figuratively. A person can be struck by a thought or idea, suggesting a sudden realization. Whereas someone might feel stuck in a rut, indicating a prolonged period of stagnation or lack of progress.

Comparison Chart

Originating Verb

Strike (to hit)
Stick (to adhere)

Typical Usage

Describes a forceful action
Indicates adherence or being trapped

Contextual Application

Can refer to a sudden realization
Can signify stagnation or immobility

Phonetic Similarity

Sounds similar to "Stuck"
Often confused with "Struck"

Grammatical Form

Past tense
Past tense and past participle

Compare with Definitions


To affect or come upon someone suddenly.
An idea struck him in the middle of the night.


To find oneself in an undesirable situation.
She stuck with the wrong crowd.


Past tense of "strike," meaning to hit.
The hammer struck the nail.


To remain firm in one's position.
He stuck to his beliefs.


To come into contact with.
The ship struck a reef.


Past tense of "stick," meaning to adhere.
The label stuck to the jar.


To produce a sound by hitting.
The bell struck twelve times.


To be in a prolonged stagnated state.
She felt stuck in her job.


To be impressed or affected by something.
He was struck by her beauty.


Unable to move or progress.
The car was stuck in mud.


Struck is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: Adolf Struck (1877–1911), German author Hermann Struck (1876–1944), German artist Karin Struck (1947–2006), German author Paul Struck (1776-1820), German composer Peter Struck (1943–2012), German politician (SPD) Peter Struck (classicist), professor at the University of Pennsylvania.


Past tense and past participle of stick.


Past tense and a past participle of strike.


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.


Affected or shut down by a labor strike.


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


Simple past tense and past participle of strike


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


(used in combination) affected by something overwhelming;


In the situation of having no money.


(obsolete) A thrust.


A thrust.


Caught or fixed;
Stuck in the mud


This problem has me completely stuck

Common Curiosities

What is the verb form for "Struck"?

"Struck" is the past tense of "strike."

Does "Stuck" always imply a physical adherence?

No, "Stuck" can also indicate a metaphorical or emotional state of being trapped.

What does "Struck" typically convey?

"Struck" usually conveys a forceful action, often associated with hitting.

Can "Struck" be used in a positive context?

Yes, one can be struck by a brilliant idea, for instance.

Can "Stuck" refer to emotions?

Yes, one can feel stuck in a particular emotional state.

How do you differentiate between "Struck" and "Stuck" in a sentence?

Context is key. "Struck" implies a forceful action, while "Stuck" indicates adherence or immobility.

Can "Stuck" describe a prolonged situation?

Yes, for example, feeling stuck in a routine.

Is it possible for an object to be both "Struck" and "Stuck"?

Yes, a dart can be struck against a board and then be stuck in it.

Which word, "Struck" or "Stuck", relates to music?

"Struck" can, as in a piano key being struck.

Can "Struck" indicate an emotional reaction?

Yes, as in being struck with awe or surprise.

Can "Stuck" mean staying loyal?

Yes, as in "stuck by his side" or "stuck with a decision."

Is "Stuck" always negative?

No, it's neutral. For example, "stuck" can be used positively as in "stuck with good habits."

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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