Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “cleft stick”

cleft stick

noun uk   UK us  
be in a cleft stick to be in a situation where it is very difficult to decide what to do, usually because both of your two choices of action would cause problems: UN troops are in a cleft stick: something has to be done for the civilian population, yet to retaliate would surely be the spark to ignite all-out war.Difficult situations and unpleasant experiencesAccidents and disasters
(Definition of cleft stick from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of cleft stick?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Difficult situations and unpleasant experiences, but you might be interested in these topics from the Easy and difficult topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Translations of “cleft stick”

Word of the Day

flair

natural ability to do something well

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More