What in the world is the difference between a label and a sticker?

You say to-may-to, i say to-mah-to. Is it that simple when it comes to diagnosing the difference between a "label" and a "sticker?" Well, not exactly.

Let's start with their similarities. Both labels and stickers consist of a sticky backing called adhesive that is applied to a material, usually paper, where colors or graphics are printed. Physically, there isn't really any differentiation whatsoever between a label and a sticker.

As a classification, however, there is some nuance between the two.

A label by definition is:

A small piece of paper, plastic, or similar material attached to an object and giving information about it.

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A sticker by definition is:

A piece of paper with a picture or writing on it and a sticky substance on its back that is used to attach it to a surface.

So there you have it!

Okay, okay, fair enough. There's still not much difference between those definitions. The keywords to look for here are information and object. Labels provide information and are attached to objects. Stickers don't necessarily have to do either of those things.

A great way to put it is that labels are used to identify products or things, while stickers are the product or thing.

Ultimately, they are pretty much the same object. One simply indicates a different context than the other. The label indicates a sticky paper that gives information. A sticker is a sticky paper that has a graphic or text on it, but doesn't necessarily need to convey any information or give identification to anything.

So now you can rest easy, knowing that you understand the difference between a label and a sticker. No more sleepless nights trying to figure it out!