Stiction in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) has been a major failure mode ever since the advent of surface micromachining in the 80s of the last century due to large surfacearea-to-volume ratio. Even now when solutions to this problem are emerging, such as self-assembled monolayer (SAM) and other measures, stiction remains one of the most catastrophic failure modes in MEMS. A review is presented in this paper on stiction and anti-stiction in MEMS and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS). First, some new experimental observations of stiction in radio frequency (RF) MEMS switch and micromachined accelerometers are presented. Second, some criteria for stiction of microstructures in MEMS and NEMS due to surface forces (such as capillary, electrostatic, van der Waals, Casimir forces, etc.) are reviewed. The influence of surface roughness and environmental conditions (relative humidity and temperature) on stiction are also discussed. As hydrophobic films, the self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) turn out able to prevent release-related stiction effectively. The anti-stiction of SAMs in MEMS is reviewed in the last part.