Old English sticca "rod, twig, spoon," from Proto-Germanic *stikkon- "pierce, prick" (cf. Old Norse stik, Old High German stehho, German Stecken "stick, staff"), from PIE *steig- "to stick; pointed" (see stick (v.)). Meaning "staff used in a game" is from 1670s (originally billiards); meaning "manual gearshift lever" first recorded 1914. Stick-ball is attested from 1824. Alliterative connection of sticks and stones is recorded from mid-15c.