What does ‘what sticks’ mean?

That is not a reason to try and use every arcane style in your posts one-by-one to see what sticks.

Does ‘what sticks’ mean ‘appropriate’?

I cannot find a dictionary meaning for the use in this sentence.

(And a side question: Is this question too brief?)


This is an allusion to a classic catchphrase from 1950s:

Throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks, or sometimes
Throw ’em up against the wall and see which ones stick.

It means “Try it (or them) out and see if it is (or which ones are) effective”.

It’s one of a series of metaphors popularly supposed to be the natural idiom of the ‘Mad men’ the bright and irreverent young advertising men of Madison Avenue in New York. Their brainstorming sessions would come up with with ideas so unconventional that senior account men worried about whether they would even be acceptable to clients and to the public, to which the answer was “there’s no way of knowing without trying – throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks”.

Wikipedia has a brief article on an even more famous phrase of the same tenor:

Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

And there were many more; comedians and satirists competed to come up with new and ever more far-fetched variations. The website TV Tropes cites this as the first example of Cyclic National Fascination.

Source : Link , Question Author : HyperGroups , Answer Author : StoneyB on hiatus

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