Larger font
Smaller font
Etymology dictionary - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    stewardess (n.) — stock (v.)

    stewardess (n.)

    1630s, "female steward," from steward (n.) + -ess. Specifically as "woman who waits upon other women in a passenger vessel" by 1833; transferred to "female attendant on passenger aircraft" by 1931.ETD stewardess (n.).2

    stewardship (n.)

    "position, function, or responsibilities of a steward," mid-15c., steuardship, from steward (n.) + -ship. Specific ecclesiastical sense of "responsible use of resources in the service of God" is from 1899.ETD stewardship (n.).2

    stew-pot (n.)

    also stewpot, "pot with a cover for cooking stews," 1540s, from stew (n.) + pot (n.1).ETD stew-pot (n.).2

    sthenic (adj.)

    in pathology, "strong, robust, characterized by energy of function," 1787, from Medieval Latin sthenicus, from Greek sthenos "strength, might," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE root *segh- "to have, hold," on the notion of "steadfastness, toughness."ETD sthenic (adj.).2

    stibial (adj.)

    "like or resembling antimony," 1660s, with -al (1) + stibium, Latin for "black antimony," also used as a word in English. Alternative stibic (from Medieval Latin stibicus) is from c. 1600. Compare antimony.ETD stibial (adj.).2

    stichic (adj.)

    "made up of lines; pertaining to a verse or line," especially "composed of lines of the same metrical, form," 1844 (stichical is from 1787), from Latinized form of Greek stikhikos "of lines, of verses," from stikhos "row, line, rank, verse," which is related to steikhein "to go, to march in order," from PIE root *steigh- "go, rise, stride, step, walk" (see stair).ETD stichic (adj.).2

    Hence stich "portion of verse" of any measure or foot-count (1723).ETD stichic (adj.).3

    stichomythia (n.)

    "dialogue in alternate lines," especially in Greek poetry and drama, 1851, Latinized from Greek stikhomythia, from stikhos "of lines or verses" (see stichic) + mythos "speech, talk" (see myth) + abstract noun ending -ia. Related: Stichomythic.ETD stichomythia (n.).2

    stick (v.)

    Middle English stiken, from Old English stician "to pierce or puncture, to stab with a weapon; transfix; goad," also "to remain embedded, stay fixed, be fastened," from Proto-Germanic *stekanan "pierce, prick, be sharp" (source also of Old Saxon stekan, Old Frisian steka, Dutch stecken, Old High German stehhan, German stechen "to stab, prick").ETD stick (v.).2

    This is reconstructed to be from PIE *steig- "to stick; pointed" (source also of Latin instigare "to goad," instinguere "to incite, impel;" Greek stizein "to prick, puncture," stigma "mark made by a pointed instrument;" Old Persian tigra- "sharp, pointed;" Avestan tighri- "arrow;" Lithuanian stingu, stigti "to remain in place;" Russian stegati "to quilt").ETD stick (v.).3

    Etymologists have tried to connect this to *stegh-, reconstructed PIE root of words for sting, but Boutkan (2005) writes that the attempt has "formal problems" and the relationship "remains unclear."ETD stick (v.).4

    Loosely, "put something where it will remain," with or without the notion of penetration. Hence the figurative sense of "remain permanently in mind" (c. 1300). The meaning "persist (in a course of action), insist upon" is mid-15c. The transitive sense of "to fasten (something) in place" is attested from late 13c. Related: Stuck; sticking.ETD stick (v.).5

    To stick out "protrude, project" is recorded from 1560s. Slang stick around "remain" is from 1912; stick it as a rude item of advice is recorded by 1922. Sticking point, beyond which one refuses to go, is from 1956. Sticking-place, where any thing put will stay, is from 1570s; modern use generally is an echo of Shakespeare.ETD stick (v.).6

    stick (n.)

    "piece of wood, generally rather long and slender," Middle English stikke, from Old English sticca "twig or slender branch from a tree or shrub," also "rod, peg, spoon," from Proto-Germanic *stikkon- "pierce, prick" (source also of Old Norse stik, Middle Dutch stecke, stec, Old High German stehho, German Stecken "stick, staff"), from PIE root *steig- "to stick; pointed" (see stick (v.)). If so, it originally referred to a sharp stick, perhaps one pointed for a particular purpose.ETD stick (n.).2

    Also "a cudgel, staff used as a weapon," mid-12c. As "piece of rolled material in the form of a stick" by late 15c., of cinnamon. The meaning "staff used for pushing or striking in a game or sport" is from 1670s (originally billiards). The meaning "manual gearshift lever" is attested by 1914. As "person who is stiff, awkward, or incompetent," c. 1800. As "conductor's baton," 1849; as "cigarette," by 1919.ETD stick (n.).3

    Also of a printer's tool for holding set type in place: a stick of type was about 2 column inches. As "support for a candle," early 12c. In candle-making, the rod to which wicks are attached for dipping, hence "the candles made at one dipping" (by 1711).ETD stick (n.).4

    The alliterative pairing of sticks and stones is recorded from mid-12c.; originally it meant "every part of a building;" every stick meant "every bit of material" in a building (early 14c.), hence also "the whole, everything." Stick-bug is from 1870, American English, so called for its long, slender body; stick-figure in drawing is from 1949.ETD stick (n.).5

    sticks (n.)

    "rural place," 1905, from sticks in slang sense of "trees" (compare backwoods). See stick (n.).ETD sticks (n.).2

    stickball (n.)

    also stick-ball, used of various games played with a stick and a ball, including a Native American game much like lacrosse, 1824, from stick (n.) + ball (n.1).ETD stickball (n.).2

    sticker (n.)

    1580s, "one who or that which sticks or stabs," agent noun from stick (v.). Earlier stikker, "gatherer of sticks" (for firewood), early 15c. (later 13c. as a surname). By 1849 as "sharp remark, embarrassing question." The meaning "gummed adhesive label" is from 1871, also known as a paster.ETD sticker (n.).2

    sticky (adj.)

    1727, "adhesive, inclined to stick, having the property of adhering to a surface," from stick (v.) + -y (2). An Old English word for this was clibbor.ETD sticky (adj.).2

    It is attested by 1864 in the sense of "sentimental." Of weather, "hot and humid," from 1895; of situations, by 1915, "difficult." Sticky wicket is 1952, from British slang, in reference to cricket, in reference to the yielding surface when wet. Related: Stickily; stickiness. The meaning "stick-like" (1570s) is from stick (n.).ETD sticky (adj.).3

    stick-in-the-mud (n.)

    "old fogey, slow or insignificant person," colloquial, 1852, from the verbal phrase: One who sticks in the mud, hence "one who is content to remain in an abject condition." To stick (v.) "set fast, be grounded" in sand, mud, etc., is from Old English.ETD stick-in-the-mud (n.).2

    The phrase appears in 1730, in city of London court records as the alias of an accused, one John Baker, who with two other men received a death sentence at the Old Bailey in December 1733 for "breaking open the House of Mr. Thomas Rayner, a Silversmith, and stealing thence Plate to a great Value."ETD stick-in-the-mud (n.).3

    stickleback (n.)

    type of fish, so called for the sharp spines on its back, c. 1400, from back (n.) + Old English sticel "prick, sting, goad, thorn" (from Proto-Germanic *stik- "pierce, prick, be sharp;" see stick (v.)), which was used in the names of spiny fishes (compare Middle English ban-stikel, stikeling).ETD stickleback (n.).2

    stickler (n.)

    1530s, "moderator, umpire, attendant on or judge of a contest," agent noun from stickle "mediate" (1520s), which is probably a frequentative of Middle English stighten "to arrange, place," from Old English stihtan "to rule, direct, govern, arrange, order," which is cognate with Middle Dutch stichten, German stiften "to found, establish." The group is probably from Proto-Germanic *stihtan "to place on a step or base," from PIE root *steigh- "to stride, step, rise" (see stair). The 15c. stiffelere "one who arranges, moderator, mediator" (Paston) may be a variant.ETD stickler (n.).2

    The word developed a negative sense of "meddler, troublemaker, busybody" in 16c.-17c. The meaning "person who contends or insists stubbornly, obstinate contender" about anything is recorded by 1640s.ETD stickler (n.).3

    sticktoitiveness (n.)

    1857, from phrase stick to it "persevere," from stick to "abide firmly and faithfully by" (see stick (v.)).ETD sticktoitiveness (n.).2

    stickum (n.)

    "glue, paste, adhesive substance," 1909, from stick (v.) + -um.ETD stickum (n.).2

    stick-up (n.)

    also stickup, 1857, "a stand-up collar," from the verbal phrase stick up "stand up, be erect" (early 15c., originally in reference to hair), from stick (v.) + up (adv.).ETD stick-up (n.).2

    The verbal phrase in the sense of "plunder, waylay, rob someone at gunpoint" is from 1846, hence the noun in this sense (1887). To stick up for "espouse or maintain the cause of" is attested from 1823.ETD stick-up (n.).3

    stiff (n.)

    1859, "corpse, dead body," slang, from stiff (adj.) which had been associated with notion of rigor mortis since c. 1200.ETD stiff (n.).2

    The meaning "working man" is recorded by 1930, from the earlier general sense of "contemptible person," but sometimes merely "man, fellow," with suggestions of roughness (1882). The slang meaning "something or someone bound to lose" is 1890 (originally of racehorses), from the notion of "corpse." The meaning "drunkard" is by 1907.ETD stiff (n.).3

    stiffness (n.)

    late 14c., stifnes, "rigidity, inflexibility," from stiff (adj.) + -ness. The meaning "uneasy formality" is from 1630s.ETD stiffness (n.).2

    stiff (v.)

    late 14c., stiffen, "to make stiff," from stiff (adj.). The transitive meaning "fail to tip" is by 1934, American English, originally among restaurant and hotel workers, probably a new formation from stiff (n.) in some sense, perhaps in slang sense of "corpse" (because the dead pay no tips), or from the "contemptible person" sense. Extended by 1950 to "to cheat."ETD stiff (v.).2

    stiff (adj.)

    Middle English stif, from Old English stif "rigid, inflexible, not easily bent," in physical senses often suggesting rigor mortis, from Proto-Germanic *stifaz "inflexible" (source also of Dutch stijf, Old Frisian stef, Old High German stif, German steif "stiff;" Old Norse stifla "choke").ETD stiff (adj.).2

    The Germanic word is said to be from a PIE *stipos-, from the root *steip- "press together, pack, cram" (source also of Sanskrit styayate "coagulates," stima "slow;" Greek stia, stion "small stone," steibo "press together;" Latin stipare "pack down, compress," perhaps also stipes "post, tree trunk;" Lithuanian stipti "to stiffen, grow rigid," stiprus "strong;" Old Church Slavonic stena "wall"). However Boutkan suggests the possibility that the Germanic words are a metaphoric use from words for staff (n.).ETD stiff (adj.).3

    By extension, "strong, violent; difficult to master or overcome:" In reference to battles and competitions, "fierce, stubborn, contested," mid-13c.; of winds or currents c. 1300; of liquor from 1813. In Middle English also "powerful, staunch, unmoving, resolute," and paired alliteratively with strong.ETD stiff (adj.).4

    Of substances, "not fluid, thick and tenacious," early 15c. As "not natural or easy in movement," c. 1300. As "rigidly ceremonious, not easy or gracious in manner," c. 1600. To keep a stiff upper lip is attested from 1815. Related: Stiffly.ETD stiff (adj.).5

    stiff-arm (v.)

    "fend or push off with a stiff arm," by 1927, in U.S. football, from stiff (adj.) + arm (n.1). Related: Stiff-armed; stiff-arming.ETD stiff-arm (v.).2

    stiffen (v.)

    early 15c., stifnen, "make steadfast;" 1620s, "make stiff or rigid," from stiff (adj.) + -en (1). The intransitive sense of "become or grow less flexible" is from 1690s. The earlier verb was simply stiff "gain strength, become strong" (late 14c.). Related: Stiffened; stiffener; stiffening. Compare German steifen "stiffen."ETD stiffen (v.).2

    stiff-necked (adj.)

    "inflexibly stubborn, obstinate," 1520s (in Tyndale's rendition of Acts vii.51), from stiff (adj.) + neck (n.); translating Latin dura cervice in Vulgate, itself translating Greek sklero trakhēlos, a literal translation from Hebrew qesheh 'oref.ETD stiff-necked (adj.).2

    stifle (v.)

    late 14c., stuflen, "have difficulty breathing, choke, suffocate; drown, suffocate by drowning," a word of of uncertain origin, possibly an alteration of Old French estouffer "to stifle, smother" (Modern French étouffer), itself of uncertain etymology but perhaps from a Germanic source (compare Old High German stopfon "to plug up, stuff," and see stuff, stop).ETD stifle (v.).2

    The metaphoric sense is from 1570s, "conceal;" by 1620s as "destroy, crush, suppress." Of sounds by 1833. Related: Stifled; stifling.ETD stifle (v.).3

    stigma (n.)

    1590s (earlier stigme, c. 1400), "mark made on skin by burning with a hot iron," from Latin stigma (plural stigmata), from Greek stigma (genitive stigmatos) "mark of a pointed instrument, puncture, tattoo-mark, brand," which is related to stizein "to mark, tattoo" (from PIE root *steig- "to stick; pointed" (see stick (v.)).ETD stigma (n.).2

    The figurative meaning "mark of disgrace or infamy which attaches to a person on account of evil conduct" is in English is from 1610s. Stigmas "marks resembling the wounds on the body of Christ, appearing supernaturally on the bodies of the devout" is from 1630s; earlier stigmate (late 14c.), from Latin stigmata, itself used in English in this sense by 1630s.ETD stigma (n.).3

    stigmatize (v.)

    1580s, "to mark with a brand or tattoo," from Medieval Latin stigmatizare, from Greek stigmatizein, from stigmat-, stem of stigma (see stigma).ETD stigmatize (v.).2

    The meaning "to blemish, set the mark of disgrace upon" is from 1610s (figurative), 1630s (literal). Related: Stigmatized; stigmatizing.ETD stigmatize (v.).3

    stigmatic (adj.)

    c. 1600, figurative, "branding with infamy," from Medieval Latin stigmaticus, from stigmat-, stem of Greek stigma (see stigma). The literal sense "of or pertaining to stigmata" is by 1871. Related: Stigmatical (1580s); stigmatal (1859 in scientific use in reference to breathing pores); stigmatically.ETD stigmatic (adj.).2

    stigmatization (n.)

    "act of or condition of being stigmatized," originally especially with supposed miraculous impressions of the marks of Christ's wounds, 1822, noun of action from stigmatize.ETD stigmatization (n.).2

    stigmatism (n.)

    1660s, "a branding," from Greek stigmatizein, from stigmat-, stem of stigma (see stigma). The meaning "condition of being affected with stigmata" is from 1897. Of the eyes, "absence of astigmatism," by 1890.ETD stigmatism (n.).2

    stile (n.)

    "an arrangement of steps or a framework for getting over a fence or wall," Middle English stile, from Old English stigel, stile, a word related to stigen "to climb," from Proto-Germanic *stig- "to climb" (see stair). An arrangement to allow persons to pass but not sheep or cattle.ETD stile (n.).2

    stiletto (n.)

    1610s, "short, slender, narrow dagger with a thick, not flat, blade in proportion to length," from Italian stiletto, diminutive of stilo "dagger," from Latin stilus "pointed writing instrument" (see style (n.)). Stiletto heel in reference to a very narrow high heel in women's shoes is attested by 1953.ETD stiletto (n.).2

    stillness (n.)

    Middle English stilnesse, "silence, state or character of being silent, refusal to speak," from Old English stilnes "quiet, silence, peace, release, relaxation;" see still (adj.) + -ness. The meaning "absence of movement, unmovingness" is from early 13c.ETD stillness (n.).2

    still (adv.)

    "even now, even then, yet" (as in still standing there), 1530s, from still (adj.) "fixed, stationary," from its sense of "at all times, under any circumstance" (c. 1300), which evolved out of the meaning "without change or cessation, continual" (c. 1200).ETD still (adv.).2

    Old English and Middle English had such expressions as lie still, sit still, stand still, "without moving, silent(ly) and noiseless(ly)," in which still could be adjective or adverb.ETD still (adv.).3

    The sense of "in an increased or increasing degree" (as in still more) is from 1590s.ETD still (adv.).4

    still (adj.)

    Old English stille "motionless, stable, fixed, stationary," from Proto-Germanic *stilli- (source also of Old Frisian, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch stille, Dutch stil, Old High German stilli, German still), from suffixed form of PIE root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place.ETD still (adj.).2

    The meaning "quiet, calm, gentle, silent" emerged in later Old English. Used as a conjunction from 1722. In reference to a child, it has been euphemistic for "dead" in stillborn, etc. Still small voice is from KJV:ETD still (adj.).3

    still (n.2)

    c. 1200, "a calm," from still (adj.). The sense of "quietness, the silent part" is from c. 1600 (in still of the night). The meaning "a photograph" (as distinguished from a motion picture) is attested from 1916.ETD still (n.2).2

    still (n.1)

    "apparatus for separating volatile matters and recondensing them," 1530s, from Middle English stillen "to distill, to fall by drops, trickle" (c. 1300), a shortening of distillen (see distill). Especially in reference to an apparatus in which liquors are distilled; also formerly sometimes "a distillery" (1530s).ETD still (n.1).2

    still (v.)

    Middle English stillen, from Old English stillan "to be still, have rest;" also transitive, "to quiet, calm, appease; to stop, restrain," from stille "at rest" (see still (adj.)). Cognate with Old Saxon stillian, Old Norse stilla, Dutch, Old High German, German stillen. Related: Stilled; stilling.ETD still (v.).2

    stillbirth (n.)

    also still-birth, "birth of a lifeless thing," 1764, from still (adj.) in the euphemistic sense of "dead" + birth (n.).ETD stillbirth (n.).2

    stillborn (adj.)

    "dead at birth," 1590s, from still (adj.) in the euphemistic sense of "dead" + born. As a noun from 1913; still (n.) in this sense is attested from 1863 in the jargon of the funeral business.ETD stillborn (adj.).2

    stilly (adv.)

    Middle English stilli "silently, noiselessly," from Old English stillice "in a low voice, quietly;" see still (adj.) + -ly (2). The sense of "characterized by calm or quiet, without agitation" is by 1776. OED marks the word "chiefly poetic;" for which see -y (2).ETD stilly (adv.).2

    stillicide (n.)

    "the continual falling of drops," 1620s, from Latin stillicidium "a dripping, falling of drops, a liquid which falls in drops" from stilla "a drop" (see distill (v.)) + cadere "to fall" (from PIE root *kad- "to fall").ETD stillicide (n.).2

    In Roman law, the dropping of rainwater from one's roof on another's roof or land, as a right or nuisance, and the word was also used in this sense in Scottish law from 17c. Related: Stillicidious.ETD stillicide (n.).3

    Stiricide, a 17c. dictionary word, seems to have meant more or less "the dropping of icicles from a house," also with cadere, and Latin stiria "icicle" (itself in English in various technical senses from 17c.), which sometimes is connected to the PIE root of stiff (adj.), but de Vaan suggests a connection of stiria "icicle"/stilla "dripping."ETD stillicide (n.).4

    still life (n.)

    1690s, "inanimate objects represented in a painting," translating Dutch stilleven (17c); see still (adj.) + life (n.). In reference to the painting itself, by 1957.ETD still life (n.).2

    stilted (adj.)

    1610s, "having stilts," formed as if from a past participle of a verb from stilt (n.). The sense of "elevated or supported by stilts" is from 1800; the figurative sense of "pompous, stuffy, formal and stiff" (elevated as if on stilts) is recorded by 1774.ETD stilted (adj.).2

    stilt (n.)

    early 14c. (late 13c. in surnames), "a wooden crutch, prop used in walking," also "handle of a plow, an artificial leg." It is a common Germanic word (Norwegian stilta, Danish stylte, Swedish stylta, Old Frisian stult, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch stelte, Dutch stelt "stilt, wooden leg," Flemish stilte "stick," Old High German stelza "plow handle, crutch"), but the exact relationship of the cognates is unclear.ETD stilt (n.).2

    It is presumed to be from a Proto-Germanic *steltijon, from an extended form of PIE root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place.ETD stilt (n.).3

    The application to wooden poles for walking across marshy ground, etc. is from mid-15c. The meaning "one of the posts on which a building is raised from the ground" is attested by 1690s.ETD stilt (n.).4

    As a type of bird with long legs, from 1831. Stilted as "elevated or supported by stilts" and, figuratively, "formal and stiff," is early 19c.ETD stilt (n.).5

    Stilton (n.)

    1736 in reference to a cheese made famous by a coaching inn at Stilton on the Great North Road from London, the owner being from Leicestershire, where the cheese was made. Since 1969 restricted to cheese made in Leicester, Derby, and Nottingham counties by members of the Stilton Cheese Makers Association. The place name is in Domesday Book as Stichiltone and probably means literally farmstead or village at a stile or steep ascent.ETD Stilton (n.).2

    stimulator (n.)

    "one who or that which stimulates," 1610s, from Latin stimulator "a pricker-on, instigator," agent noun from stimulare "to prick, goad, urge," from stimulus "spur, goad" (see stimulus). Fem. form stimulatress is by 1846, earlier in Latin fem. stimulatrix (used interchangeably with instigatrix; the Latin word is in Plautus).ETD stimulator (n.).2

    stimulation (n.)

    1520s, "act of pricking or stirring to action," from Latin stimulationem (nominative stimulatio) "a pricking on, incitement, urging, encouragement," noun of action from past-participle stem of stimulare "prick, goad, urge," from stimulus "spur, goad" (see stimulus).ETD stimulation (n.).2

    stimulant (adj.)

    "stimulating; serving to stimulate, incite, or provoke," 1772, from French stimulant or directly from Latin stimulantem (nominative stimulans), present participle of stimulare "to prick, urge, stimulate" (see stimulation).ETD stimulant (adj.).2

    As a noun from 1728, "that which stimulates," specifically, in anatomy, "an agent which temporarily quickens some vital process." Stimulants "alcoholic drinks" is by 1845. The question whether medicinal use of alcohol as a stimulant ought to be excluded from temperance (and if it was a stimulant) was much-debated 1830s-40s. Stimulancy "stimulating quality" is from 1725.ETD stimulant (adj.).3

    stimulate (v.)

    1610s, "goad, excite, or rouse to action," from Latin stimulatus, past participle of stimulare "prick, goad, urge," from stimulus "spur, goad" (see stimulus). Specifically in anatomy, "to quicken temporarily some vital process," by 1707. Related: Stimulated; stimulating; stimulable; stimulative.ETD stimulate (v.).2

    stimuli (n.)

    Latinate plural of stimulus.ETD stimuli (n.).2

    stimulus (n.)

    plural stimuli, 1680s, "stimulating property or effect," a medical term, especially "something that goads a lazy organ," from a modern use of Latin stimulus "a goad, a pointed stick" for driving cattle or slaves, figuratively "a sting or pang of torment; an incitement, a spur."ETD stimulus (n.).2

    This is perhaps a derivative of stilus "pointed piece of metal" (see stylus). De Vaan writes, "It is uncertain whether Latin stilus, stimulus and stiva all belong together, but one might see a root sti- 'sharp object' in them." It is perhaps connected more remotely to the root of stick (v.).ETD stimulus (n.).3

    The general sense of "something that excites or arouses the mind or spirit" in English is from 1791. The Latin word also had a military meaning "pointed stick concealed in the ground to repel attackers." Roman authors write of a Stimula "goddess who incites or pricks on" (to action or pleasure).ETD stimulus (n.).4

    The psychological sense of "something that gives rise to a reaction" is recorded by 1894 in English; stimulus-response is attested by 1919 in psychology.ETD stimulus (n.).5

    sting (n.)

    Old English stincg, steng "act of stinging, puncture, thrust, snakebite, sting of a scorpion," from the root of sting (v.).ETD sting (n.).2

    The meaning "sharp-pointed organ (in certain insects, etc.) capable of inflicting a painful puncture wound" is from late 14c. In reference to the mental pain left by a sharp remark, early 15c. As "quality or capacity to hurt" (as in take the sting out of), by 1860.ETD sting (n.).3

    The meaning "a carefully planned theft or robbery" is attested from 1930 in U.S. underworld slang; the sense of "police undercover entrapment" is attested by 1975.ETD sting (n.).4

    sting (v.)

    Middle English stingen, from Old English stingan "to stab, pierce, or prick with a point" (of weapons, bees, certain plants, etc.), from Proto-Germanic *stingan (source also of Old Norse stinga, Old High German stungen "to prick," Gothic us-stagg "to prick out," Old High German stanga, German stange "pole, perch," German stengel "stalk, stem"). This is perhaps is from PIE *stengh-, nasalized form of the root *stegh- "to stick, prick, sting."ETD sting (v.).2

    In old use also of serpents, toads, and flies (late 12c.). The sense mostly specialized to stinging insects after 14c. The intransitive sense of "have a stinger, be capable of stinging" is by 1735; that of "be sharply painful" is from 1848. The slang meaning "to cheat, swindle" is from 1812. In Middle English also "have sexual intercourse with" (mid-13c.).ETD sting (v.).3

    An Old English strong verb, past tense stang, past participle stungen; the past tense later was leveled to stung.ETD sting (v.).4

    stinging (adj.)

    c. 1200, stinginde, "biting, that stings or has power to sting," present-participle adjective from sting (v.). By late 15c. in reference to pain, "sharp, piercing." Figurative use, in reference to mental pain, from late 14c.ETD stinging (adj.).2

    stinger (n.)

    "one who or that which is capable of stinging," 1550s, agent noun from sting (v.). In pugilism, "a sharp and rapid hit," by 1823. As an animal part, from 1889; earlier in this sense was sting (n.).ETD stinger (n.).2

    stingy (adj.)

    "niggardly, penurious, meanly avaricious, extremely tight-fisted," 1650s, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps an altered pronunciation of dialectal and colloquial stingy "biting, sharp, stinging," as of the wind, or criticism (1610s), from sting (v.).ETD stingy (adj.).2

    As "doled out sparingly or grudgingly" by 1849. Back-formation stinge "a stingy person" is recorded from 1905, and a verb stinge "be meanly avaricious" was formed from that by 1937. Related: Stingily; stinginess.ETD stingy (adj.).3

    sting-ray (n.)

    also stingray, type of batoid fish with a long lash-like tail with a bony spine near its base that inflicts a painful wound, 1620s, from sting + ray (n.2). First in Capt. John Smith's writings: "Stingraies, whose tailes are very dangerous ...." Stingaree (1838) is a variant attested in Australia and U.S.ETD sting-ray (n.).2

    stink (v.)

    Old English stincan "emit a smell of any kind; exhale; rise (of dust, vapor, etc.)," a class III strong verb; past tense stanc, past participle stuncen, common West Germanic (cognates: Old Saxon stincan, West Frisian stjonke, Old High German stinkan, Dutch stinken), from the root of stench.ETD stink (v.).2

    Old English had swote stincan "to smell sweet," but the "offensive scent" notion in the word also was in Old English and predominated by mid-13c.; smell (intrans.) later tended the same way.ETD stink (v.).3

    The transitive sense of "fill (a space) with suffocating fumes," especially "to drive out by an offensive odor," is by 1781. Figurative meaning "be offensive" is from early 13c.; meaning "be inept" is recorded from 1924. To stink up (transitive) "cause to stink" is by 1956.ETD stink (v.).4

    The emphatic verbal stink to high heaven is recorded by 1873 (high heaven or heavens was common 19c. emphatic); noun phrase a stink before high heaven is by 1869.ETD stink (v.).5

    stink (n.)

    mid-13c., "strong offensive or disgusting odor," originally especially of body odor, putrescence, or the fumes of Hell, from stink (v.).ETD stink (n.).2

    The sense of "extensive fuss, disagreeable exposure" is attested by 1812 (to raise a stink is implied by 1851). Stinks as a British public school or university nickname for Natural Sciences (especially chemistry) is by 1869.ETD stink (n.).3

    stinking (adj.)

    "that emits a strong, offensive smell," late 14c. (earlier stinkend, from Old English stincende); present-participle adjective from stink (v.). Modifying drunk, it is suggested by 1887; stinking rich dates from 1945 (to be stinking with money is by 1922).ETD stinking (adj.).2

    stinkball (n.)

    also stink-ball, 1753, in naval warfare, "device unleashing foul fumes and thrown upon an enemy's deck at close quarters," from stink (n.) + ball (n.1). A stink-bomb, on the other hand, is generally a schoolboy prank (1915).ETD stinkball (n.).2

    stink-bug (n.)

    also stinkbug, 1869, American English, of various insects that release a pungent bad smell, from stink + bug (n.). Compare punaise "bed-bug," also used of other annoying insects, 1510s, from French punaise, noun use of fem. of punais "stinking, fetid." Also in the same sense, stink-beetle (1889).ETD stink-bug (n.).2

    stinker (n.)

    as a term of abuse (often banteringly), "mean, paltry fellow," c. 1600, agent noun from stink (v.); also in the same sense was stinkard (c. 1600), with -ard. The extended form stinkeroo attested by 1934. Related: Stinkardly.ETD stinker (n.).2

    stink eye (n.)

    "dirty look," by 1972, perhaps from Hawaiian slang.ETD stink eye (n.).2

    stinkhorn (n.)

    common name of a type of foul-smelling fungus (Phallus impudicus), 1724, from stink + horn (n.), for its shape.ETD stinkhorn (n.).2

    stinky (adj.)

    "having much stink," 1888, from stink (n.) + -y (2). Chaucer used stynky. Stinking as a present-participle adjective in this sense is by c. 1300. Related: Stinkiness. Stinko "of very poor quality" is from 1924.ETD stinky (adj.).2

    stinkpot (n.)

    also stink-pot, 1660s, "stink-bomb, hand-thrown missile charged with combustibles and emitting a suffocating smoke," from stink (n.) + pot (n.1). As the name of a type of musk-turtle common in parts of the U.S., by 1844. As a term of abuse for a person, by 1854.ETD stinkpot (n.).2

    stinkweed (n.)

    also stink-weed, ill-smelling cruciferous plant, by 1760 ("Essays Upon Field-Husbandry in New-England"), from stink + weed (n.). Stinking-weed is earlier (1736).ETD stinkweed (n.).2

    stint (v.)

    "be sparing or frugal," 1722, from earlier sense of "limit, restrain" (1510s), "cause to cease, put an end to" an action or effort (mid-14c.), and in intransitive use, "cease, desist" (c. 1200), Middle English stinten, from Old English styntan "to blunt, make dull, stupefy" probably originally "make short," from Proto-Germanic *stuntijanan, from PIE *steud-, extended form of root *(s)teu- (1) "to push, stick, knock, beat" (see steep (adj.)).ETD stint (v.).2

    The Old English verb is cognate with Old Norse stytta (assimilated from earlier *stynta) "to shorten, make short, tuck up;" and the modern sense of the English word might be from Old Norse or from an unrecorded Old English sense. Related to stunt (v.) and stutter (v.).ETD stint (v.).3

    The transitive sense of "limit unduly in supply" is by 1722; that of "be careful in expenditure" is from 1848. Related: Stinted; stinting. In Middle English, stinter was used of God and the Virgin Mary, as ones who "put an end to" strife, woe, etc.ETD stint (v.).4

    stint (n.)

    early 14c., "a pause or stop in action, a leaving off of intention," from stint (v.). By mid-15c. as "limited or fixed amount;" 1520s as "allotted portion of work."ETD stint (n.).2

    stipe (n.)

    "stalk of a plant," 1785, from French stipe, from Latin stipa "coarse part of flax," which is related to stipes "log, post, tree trunk" (compare stipend). Related: Stipel (diminutive), stipellate (adj.), stipiform.ETD stipe (n.).2

    stipend (n.)

    early 15c., "periodical payment, wage, salary; soldier's pay," from Latin stipendium "tax, impost, tribute," in military use "pay, salary," from stips "alms, small payment, contribution of money, gift" + pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh; pay" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin").ETD stipend (n.).2

    The first element apparently is related to Latin stipula "stalk, straw, reed." De Vaan writes, "The noun stip- must have developed from a concrete object that was used for payments, but the nature of the object is unknown: a certain stalk of a plant? a measure of com? Since the root meant 'to be stiff, erect', the meaning 'stalk' is attractive."ETD stipend (n.).3

    That could connect it to stipes "log, stock, trunk of a tree" (see stipe) and ultimately to the source of English stiff (adj.). For financial use of Latin pendere, compare pound (n.1). As a verb from late 15c., "pay by settled wages."ETD stipend (n.).4

    stipendiary (adj.)

    "receiving wages or salary," c. 1600, from Latin stipendiarius, from stipendium "tax, impost, tribute," in military use "pay, salary" (see stipend).ETD stipendiary (adj.).2

    As a noun by 1630s, "one who performs services for settled pay." Latin stipendiarius also was applied to clerics, and Middle English had stipendary "one who performs (military) service for pay" (mid-15c.).ETD stipendiary (adj.).3

    Related: Stipendless; stipendial; stipendiarian. Blount (1656) has stipendious "that hath often been retained in wars, and served for wages."ETD stipendiary (adj.).4

    stipple (v.)

    in decorative or engraving arts, "paint or engrave with dots," 1670s, from Dutch stippelen "to make points," frequentative of stippen "to prick, speckle," from stip "a point," which is perhaps ultimately from PIE root *st(e)ig- "pointed" (see stick (v.)), or from *steip- "to stick, compress." Especially in reference to a process for making gradations in color or shade. Related: Stippled; stippler; stippling.ETD stipple (v.).2

    stipule (n.)

    "small appendage at the base of the petiole of a leaf," 1793, from French stipule, from Latin stipula "stalk (of hay), straw" (from PIE *stip-ola-, from *stip- "stalk;" perhaps ultimately from the source of stiff (adj.)). Related: Stipuled; stipulose.ETD stipule (n.).2

    stipulation (n.)

    1550s, "a commitment or activity to do something" (now obsolete), from Latin stipulationem (nominative stipulatio), "a promise, bargain, covenant," noun of action from past-participle stem of stipulari "exact a promise, engage, bargain," a word of uncertain origin.ETD stipulation (n.).2

    It is traditionally said to be from Latin stipula "stalk, straw" (see stipule) in reference to some obscure symbolic act; this is rejected by most authorities, who, however, have not come up with a better guess.ETD stipulation (n.).3

    De Vaan suggests "the original meaning of the verb was 'to draw/cut straws.' ... The noun stip- must have developed from a concrete object that was used for payments, but the nature of the object is unknown: a certain stalk of a plant? a measure of corn?"ETD stipulation (n.).4

    The meaning "act of specifying one of the terms of a contract or agreement" is recorded from 1750; the sense of "act of insisting on as a condition of agreement" is by 1792. The general meaning "that which is agreed upon" in English is from 1802.ETD stipulation (n.).5

    stipulate (v.)

    1620s, "bargain, make a contract" (intransitive, a sense now obsolete), a back-formation from stipulation, or else from Latin stipulatus, past participle of stipulari "exact (a promise), bargain for."ETD stipulate (v.).2

    The transitive sense of "demand as a condition of agreement" is from 1640s. In reference to a document or agreement, "require or insist upon," by 1680s. Related: Stipulated; stipulating.ETD stipulate (v.).3

    stir (v.)

    Middle English stiren, from Old English styrian, stirian "to move, be or become active or busy, pass into motion," also transitive, "to agitate with a rotating motion (a liquid or mixture by hand or with an instrument), move, change the location of; rouse, agitate, incite, urge;" from Proto-Germanic *sturjan (source also of Middle Dutch stoeren, Dutch storen "to disturb," Old High German storan "to scatter, destroy," German stören "to disturb"), from PIE *(s)twer- (1) "to turn, whirl" (see storm (n.)). Related: Stirred; stirring.ETD stir (v.).2

    By late 12c. as "be alive;" from early 14c. as "affect emotionally." To stir up is from mid-14c. in a literal sense; by 1540s as "rouse to action." Stir-fry is attested from 1959 in writings on Chinese cookery as a verb and noun.ETD stir (v.).3

    stir (n.)

    late 14c., "commotion, disturbance, tumult," late 14c. (in phrase on steir), probably from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse styrr "disturbance, tumult," from the same root as stir (v.)). The sense of "state of movement, bustle, activity of many persons" (1560s) probably is from the English verb. For the meaning "lock-up, prison" in thieves' slang, see stir-crazy.ETD stir (n.).2

    stirring (n.)

    "act of moving or setting in motion; a beginning to move," mid-14c., verbal noun from stir (v.). Figurative sense is earlier; "an inward prompting, impulse of feeling or desire" (early 13c.), originally spiritual; in reference to love, regret, etc., from late 14c. Related: Stirrings. Stirrage for "act of stirring" in a literal sense (1510s) seems obsolete.ETD stirring (n.).2

    stirring (adj.)

    late 14c., "being in active motion," replacing sterand, from Old English styrend "in active motion; animated, rousing," present-participle adjective from stir (v.). From c. 1400 as "inspiring;" in reference to music, words, etc., "animating, rousing, awakening," early 15c. Related: Stirringly.ETD stirring (adj.).2

    stirabout (n.)

    "oatmeal, porridge," 1680s, from stir (v.) + about (adv.), so called because made by stirring into seething milk or water. As "bustling person" by 1870, probably a separate formation.ETD stirabout (n.).2

    stir-crazy (adj.)

    "psychologically deranged as a result of confinement or imprisonment," 1908, thieves' slang, from crazy (adj.) + stir (n.) in a slang sense of "prison, lock-up" (by 1851), which is of uncertain origin but said to be from Start Newgate (1757), the prison in London, later any prison (1823), and that probably from Romany stardo "imprisoned," which is said to be related to staripen "a prison." According to Barnhart, mid-19c. sturaban, sturbin "state prison" seem to be transitional forms.ETD stir-crazy (adj.).2

    stirp (n.)

    "race, lineage, family," c. 1500, from Latin stirp "the stock of a family, line of descent, ancestral race," a figurative use from stirps "stem, stalk, trunk of a plant," figuratively "source, origin, foundation, beginning," a word of uncertain origin. De Vaan writes that it "Has been compared with Lith. stirpti 'to grow up, grow high', sterptis 'to stiffen', which is a possible but not compelling semantic connection."ETD stirp (n.).2

    OED reports that it "became obsolete in the 17th c. and reappears (in affected literary use) about the middle of the 19th." Hence stirpiculture "breeding of special stocks or strains, production of pure races by careful breeding" (1869). The form stirps seems to be that used in law (1680s).ETD stirp (n.).3

    stirrer (n.)

    late 14c., stirer, "instigator," agent noun from stir (v.). From late 15c. as "implement or machine used for stirring." By 1570s as "bustler, one who is active."ETD stirrer (n.).2

    stirrup (n.)

    Middle English stirop, from Old English stigrap, stirup "a support for the foot of a person mounted on a horse," etymologically "climbing rope," from stige "a climbing, ascent" (from Proto-Germanic *stigaz "climbing;" see stair) + rap (see rope (n.)). Originally a looped rope as a help for mounting.ETD stirrup (n.).2

    Germanic cognates include Old Norse stigreip, Middle Dutch stegerep, Old High German stegareif, German stegreif.ETD stirrup (n.).3

    Extended to any piece resembling a stirrup in form or function, such as the hold for the foot at the end of a large crossbow. The surgical device used in extensions, childbirth, etc., is so called from 1884. In reference to a strap attached to a footless stocking (later trousers and slacks) that passes under the foot, from 1650s.ETD stirrup (n.).4

    A stirrup-cup (1680s) was a cup of wine or other drink handed to a rider already on horseback and setting out on a journey, hence "a parting glass" (compare French le vin de l'etrier).ETD stirrup (n.).5

    stitch (n.)

    Middle English stiche, from Old English stice "a prick, puncture, sting, stab" (senses now obsolete), from Proto-Germanic *stikiz (source also of Old Frisian steke, Old High German stih, German Stich "a pricking, prick, sting, stab"), from PIE *stig-i-, from root *steig- "to stick; pointed" (see stick (v.)).ETD stitch (n.).2

    The sense of "sudden, stabbing pain in the side, acute sudden pain like that of the thrust of a needle" was in late Old English (in the leechdoms).ETD stitch (n.).3

    The sense in sewing and shoemaking, "one movement of a threaded needle passing in and out of fabric," is by late 13c.; in reference to the part of thread left in the fabric by this, from late 14c. Hence by synecdoche the meaning "bit of clothing" one is (or isn't) wearing, from c. 1500. In reference to a particular type of needlework (as in cross-stitch), by 1620s.ETD stitch (n.).4

    The meaning "a stroke of work" (of any kind) is attested from 1580s. The surgical sense is recorded by 1520s. The sense of "amusing person or thing" is by 1968, from the notion of laughing so much one gets stitches of pain (compare verbal expression have (someone) in stitches, attested by 1935).ETD stitch (n.).5

    stitch (v.)

    c. 1200, stichen, "to stab, pierce, cause pain," also "to unite or ornament (a garment) with stitches;" from stitch (n.). With up (adv.) from c. 1500. The surgical sense is from 1570s. Related: Stitched; stitcher; stitching.ETD stitch (v.).2

    stitching (n.)

    1520s, "action of fastening or ornamenting by stitches," verbal noun from stitch (v.). By 1560s as "stitches collectively; ornamental stitches for show."ETD stitching (n.).2

    stitchery (n.)

    "needle-work," c. 1600, from stitch (v.) + -ery. OED allows it as a word apparently coined by Shakespeare. "In modern times, the labor or drudgery of sewing" [Century Dictionary, 1889]. Stitch-work is attested by 1848.ETD stitchery (n.).2

    Stoa (n.)

    in Greek architecture, the Great Hall or portico at Athens, c. 1600, from Greek stoa "colonnade, corridor" (from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm"). A name also given in Athens to several other public buildings. The ancient stoa was "usually a detached portico, often of considerable extent, generally near a public place to afford opportunity for walking or conversation under shelter" [Century Dictionary].ETD Stoa (n.).2

    stoat (n.)

    late 15c., stote, "the ermine," especially in its brown summer coat, a word of uncertain origin. It resembles Old Norse stutr "bull," Swedish stut "bull," Danish stud "ox," but the sense is difficult unless a common notion is "male animal."ETD stoat (n.).2

    stochastic (adj.)

    1660s, "pertaining to conjecture," from Greek stokhastikos "able to guess, conjecturing," from stokhazesthai "to guess, aim at, conjecture," from stokhos "a guess, aim, fixed target, erected pillar for archers to shoot at," which is perhaps from PIE *stogh-, variant of root *stegh- "to stick, prick, sting."ETD stochastic (adj.).2

    The sense in statistics of "randomly determined, based on the theory of probability" is by 1923 (in stochastical), from German stochastik (1917).ETD stochastic (adj.).3

    stock (n.2)

    early 15c., "supply for future use; collective wealth;" mid-15c., "sum of money set aside for a specific purpose;" Middle English developments of stock (n.1), but the ultimate sense connection is uncertain. Perhaps the notion is of the "trunk" from which gains are an outgrowth, or from stock (n.1) in obsolete sense of "money-box" (c. 1400). Probably several different lines of development are represented here.ETD stock (n.2).2

    The meaning "subscribed capital of a corporation" is from 1610s. The figurative phrase take stock in "repose confidence in, regard as important" is from 1870, from the notion of investment.ETD stock (n.2).3

    In stock "in the possession of a trader" is from 1610s. The meaning "broth made by boiling meat" is from 1764. As "raw material from which anything is made," 1873, especially in reference to paper.ETD stock (n.2).4

    Theatrical use, in reference to a company regularly acting together at a given theater, performing recurring types, or staging a fixed set of plays, is attested from 1708, from the notion of something habitually produced or used.ETD stock (n.2).5

    Taking stock "making an inventory" is attested from 1736. One's stock in trade in a literal sense was "goods kept on hand by a dealer or storekeeper" (1760s) with figurative use by 1784.ETD stock (n.2).6

    As the collective term for the movable property of a farm, especially horses, cattle, sheep, and other useful animals, it is recorded from 1510s; hence livestock, stockyard. "The application to cattle is primarily a specific use of the sense 'store', but the notion of 'race' or 'breed' ... has had some share in its development" [OED].ETD stock (n.2).7

    stocking (n.)

    "close-fitting garment covering the foot and lower leg," 1580s, from stock "leg covering, stocking" (late 15c.), from Old English stocu "sleeve," which is related to Old English stocc "trunk, log" (see stock (n.1)).ETD stocking (n.).2

    Probably so called because of a fancied resemblance of legs to tree trunks, or a reference to the punishing stocks. Old Norse stuka, Old High German stuhha are from the same Proto-Germanic source.ETD stocking (n.).3

    Restriction to women's hose is 20c. As a receptacle for Christmas presents, attested from 1830 in American English; hence stocking-stuffer (1891); stocking-filler (1862). By 1873 as a place to hide one's money or valuables. Stocking-feet "without shoes" is by 1766 in statements of stature.ETD stocking (n.).4

    stock (n.1)

    Middle English stok, from Old English stocc "stump, wooden post, stake; trunk of a living tree; log," also "pillory" (usually plural, stocks), from Proto-Germanic *stauk- "tree trunk" (source also of Old Norse stokkr "block of wood, trunk of a tree," Old Saxon, Old Frisian stok, Middle Dutch stoc "tree trunk, stump," Dutch stok "stick, cane," Old High German stoc "tree trunk, stick," German Stock "stick, cane;" also Dutch stuk, German Stück "piece").ETD stock (n.1).2

    This is said to be from an extended form of PIE root *(s)teu- (1) "to push, stick, knock, beat" (see steep (adj.)), but Boutkan considers that instead it is "probably" from an extended form of the root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."ETD stock (n.1).3

    In old use often paired alliteratively with stone (n.). With specific technical senses based on the idea of "principal supporting part" of a tool or weapon (to which others were affixed), such as "block from which a bell is hung," "gun carriage" (both late 15c.).ETD stock (n.1).4

    The sense of "part of a rifle held against the shoulder" is from 1540s. Stock, lock, and barrel "the whole of a thing" is recorded from 1817.ETD stock (n.1).5

    The meaning "line of descent, ancestry" is from late 12c.; that of "original progenitor of a family" is late 14c.; figurative uses of the "trunk of a living tree" sense (compare the notion in family tree and the family sense of stem (n.)).ETD stock (n.1).6

    In comparisons, the meaning "person as dull and senseless as a block or log" is from c. 1300; hence "a dull recipient of action or notice" (1510s), as in laughing-stock and compare butt (n.3).ETD stock (n.1).7

    stocks (n.)

    instrument of punishment and confinement formerly widely used in Europe and America (usually for vagrants and petty offenders), consisting of a wooden frame to confine the ankles of a seated person, early 14c., from stock (n.1); so called because they consisted of two large wooden blocks.ETD stocks (n.).2

    The separate use of stocks for "framework on which a boat was constructed" (early 15c.) led to the figurative phrase on stocks "planned and commenced" (1660s).ETD stocks (n.).3

    stock (v.)

    "supply (a store) with stock," 1620s, from stock (n.2). The meaning "lay up in store" is from c. 1700. The earliest sense is "imprison or punish (someone) in a restraining device" (stokken, early 14c.). Related: Stocked; stocking.ETD stock (v.).2

    Larger font
    Smaller font