- stabilize (v.)
- 1861, originally of ships; probably a back-formation from stability. Related: Stabilized; stabilizing.
- stabilizer (n.)
- 1909 in aeronautical sense, agent noun from stabilize (v.).
- stable (n.)
- "building where horses or cows are kept," early 13c., "building for domestic animals," from Old French estable "a stable, stall" (also applied to cowsheds and pigsties), from Latin stabulum "a stall, fold, aviary, etc." literally "a standing place," from stem of stare "to stand" (see stet).
Meaning "collection of horses belonging to one stable is attested from 1570s; transferred sense of "group of fighters under same management" is from 1897; that of "group of prostitutes working for the same employer" is from 1937.
For what the grete Stiede
Is stole, thanne he taketh hiede,
And makth the stable dore fast.
[John Gower, "Confessio Amantis," 1390]
- stable (adj.)
- "steadfast, firm," mid-13c., from Old French estable, from Latin stabilis "firm, steadfast," literally "able to stand," from stem of stare "to stand" (see stet). Physical sense of "secure against falling" is recorded from late 14c. Of nuclear isotopes, from 1904.
- stable (v.)
- "to put (a horse) in a stable," early 14c., from stable (n.). Related: Stabled; stabling.
- 1724, from Italian staccato, literally "detached, disconnected," from past participle of staccare "to detach," shortened form of distaccare "separate, detach," from Middle French destacher, from Old French destachier "to detach" (see detach).
- stack (v.)
- early 14c., "to pile up grain," from stack (n.). Meaning "arrange unfairly" (in stack the deck) is first recorded 1825. Stack up "compare against" is 1903, from notion of piles of poker chips (1896). Related: Stacked; Stacking.
- stack (n.)
- c.1300, "pile, heap, or group of things," from Old Norse stakkr "haystack" (cf. Danish stak, Swedish stack "heap, stack"), from Proto-Germanic *stakkoz, from PIE *stognos- (cf. Old Church Slavonic stogu "heap," Russian stog "haystack," Lithuanian stokas "pillar"), from root *steg- "pole, stick" (see stake (n.)). Meaning "set of shelves on which books are set out" is from 1879. Used of the chimneys of factories, locomotives, etc., since 1825.
- stacked (adj.)
- of women's bodies, "well-built in a sexual sense," 1942, past participle adjective from stack (v.).
- stadium (n.)
- late 14c., "a foot race, an ancient measure of length," from Latin stadium "a measure of length, a race course" (commonly one-eighth of a Roman mile; translated in early English Bibles by furlong), from Greek stadion "a measure of length, a running track," especially the track at Olympia, which was one stadium in length.
The Greek word might literally mean "fixed standard of length" (from stadios "firm, fixed," from PIE root *sta- "to stand"), or it may be from spadion, from span "to draw up, pull," with form influenced by stadios.
The meaning "running track," recorded in English from c.1600, was extended to mean in modern-day context "large, open oval structure with tiers of seats for viewing sporting events" (1834).
- staff (n.)
- Old English stæf "walking stick, strong pole used for carrying, rod used as a weapon" (also, in plural, "letter, character, writing," cf. stæfcræft "grammar"), from Proto-Germanic *stabaz (cf. Old Saxon staf, Old Norse stafr, Old Frisian stef, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch staf, Old High German stab, German Stab, Gothic *stafs "element;" Middle Dutch stapel "pillar, foundation"), from PIE root *stebh- "post, stem, to support, place firmly on, fasten" (cf. Old Lithuanian stabas "idol," Lithuanian stebas "staff, pillar;" Old Church Slavonic stoboru "pillar;" Sanskrit stabhnati "supports;" Greek stephein "to tie around, encircle, wreathe," staphyle "grapevine, bunch of grapes;" Old English stapol "post, pillar").
Sense of "group of military officers that assists a commander" is attested from 1702, apparently from German, from the notion of the "baton" that is a badge of office or authority (a sense attested in English from 1530s). Meaning "group of employees (as at an office or hospital)" is first found 1837. Staff of life "bread" is from the Biblical phrase "to break the staff of bread" (Lev. xxvi:26), translating Hebrew matteh lekhem.
- staff (v.)
- "to provide with a staff of assistants," 1859, from staff (n.). Related: Staffed; staffing.
- town in England, mid-11c., Stæfford, literally "ford by a landing-place," from Old English stæð + ford. County town of Staffordshire, which, as a name for a type of earthenware and porcelain made there is attested from 1765.
- stag (n.)
- late 12c., probably from Old English *stagga "stag," from Proto-Germanic *stag- (see sting). The Old Norse equivalent was used of male foxes, tomcats and dragons and the Germanic root word perhaps originally meant "male animal in its prime." Meaning "pertaining to or composed of males only" (stag party) is American English slang from 1848. Stag film "pornographic movie" is attested from 1968.
- stage (n.)
- mid-13c., "story of a building, raised floor for exhibitions," from Old French estage "a story or floor of a building, stage for performance," from Vulgar Latin *staticum "a place for standing," from Latin statum, past participle of stare "to stand" (see stet). Meaning "platform for presentation of a play" is attested from late 14c.; generalized for "profession of an actor" from 1580s.
Sense of "period of development or time in life" first recorded early 14c., probably from Middle English sense of "degree or step on the 'ladder' of virtue, 'wheel' of fortune, etc.," in parable illustrations and morality plays. Stage mother is from 1919. Stage-Door Johnny "young man who frequents stage doors seeking the company of actresses, chorus girls, etc." is attested from 1912. Stage-struck is from 1813; earlier stage-smitten (1680s). Stage whisper first attested 1865.
- stage (v.)
- early 14c., "to erect, construct," from stage (n.). The meaning "to put (a play) on the stage" first recorded 1879; general sense of "to mount" (a comeback, etc.) is attested from 1924. Related: Staged; staging.
- stagecoach (n.)
- also stage-coach, 1650s, from stage (n.) in a sense of "division of a journey without stopping for rest" (c.1600) + coach (n.).
- stagflation (n.)
- 1965, apparently coined by U.K. politician Iain Macleod (1913-1970), from stag(nation) + (in)flation.
Attacking the Government's economic policy last night in the House of Commons, Mr. Iain Macleod (West Enfield - Con.) the Opposition spokesman on Treasury and economic affairs, described the present situation in Britain as "stagflation" -- stagnation and inflation together. ["Glasgow Herald," Nov. 18, 1965]
- staggard (n.)
- "stag in its fourth year," c.1400, from stag + -ard.
- stagger (v.)
- 1520s, altered from stakeren (c.1300), from Old Norse stakra or Old Danish stagra, both "to push, stagger." Cognate with Dutch staggelen "to stagger," German staggeln "to stammer." Transitive sense of "bewilder, amaze" first recorded 1550s; that of "arrange in a zig-zag pattern" is from 1856. Related: Staggered; staggering.
- staggering (adj.)
- "amazing," 1560s, from present participle of stagger (v.). Related: Staggeringly.
- staging (n.)
- to designate "stopping place or assembly point," 1945, from stage (v.)
- stagnant (adj.)
- 1660s, from French stagnant (early 17c.), from Latin stagnantem (nominative stagnans), present participle of stagnare "to stagnate" (see stagnate).
- stagnate (v.)
- 1660s (implied in stagnation), from Latin stagnatum, stagnatus, past participle of stagnare "to stagnate," from stagnatum "standing water," from PIE root *stag- "to seep drip" (cf. Greek stazein "to ooze, drip;" see stalactite). Related: Stagnated; stagnating.
- staid (adj.)
- 1540s, "fixed, permanent," adjectival use of stayed, past participle of stay (v.). Meaning "sober, sedate" first recorded 1550s.
- stain (v.)
- late 14c., probably representing a merger of Old Norse steina "to paint" and a shortened form of Middle English disteynen "to discolor or stain," from Old French desteign-, stem of desteindre "to remove the color," from des- (from Latin dis- "remove;" see dis-) + Old French teindre "to dye," from Latin tingere (see tincture). Related: Stained; staining. Stained glass is attested from 1791.
- stain (n.)
- 1560s, from stain (v.).
- stainless steel (n.)
- 1917, a chromium-steel alloy (usually 14% chromium) used for cutlery, etc., so called because it is highly resistant to rust or tarnish.
- stair (n.)
- Old English stæger "flight of steps," also "a single step," from Proto-Germanic *staigri (cf. Old Norse and Old Frisian stiga, Middle Dutch stighen, Old High German stigan, German steigen, Gothic steigan "to go up, ascend;" Old English stigan "to climb, go;" German Steig "path," Old English stig "narrow path"), from PIE *steigh- "go, rise, stride, step, walk" (cf. Greek steikhein "to go, march in order," stikhos "row, line, rank, verse;" Sanskrit stighnoti "mounts, rises, steps;" Old Church Slavonic stignati "to overtake," stigna "place;" Lithuanian staiga "suddenly;" Old Irish tiagaim "I walk;" Welsh taith "going, walk, way").
Originally also a collective plural; stairs developed by late 14c. OED says stair still is ordinary in Scotland where flight of stairs would be used elsewhere.
- staircase (n.)
- also stair-case, 1620s, originally the enclosure of the stairs, from stair + case (n.2) in its sense "frame;" e.g. former window-case, door-case.
- stairway (n.)
- 1767, from stair + way.
- stairwell (n.)
- by 1862, from stair + well (n.).
- stake (n.1)
- "pointed stick or post," Old English staca, from Proto-Germanic *stakon (cf. Old Norse stiaki, Dutch staak, German stake), from PIE root *steg- "pole, stick." The Germanic word has been borrowed in Spanish (estaca), Old French (estaque), and Italian stacca) and was borrowed back as attach. Meaning "post upon which persons were bound for death by burning" is recorded from c.1200. Stake-body as a type of truck is attested from 1907. In pull up stakes, "The allusion is to pulling up the stakes of a tent" [Bartlett].
- stake (v.)
- early 14c., "to mark (land) with stakes," from stake (n.1). Hence, to stake a claim (1857). Meaning "to risk, wager" is attested from 1520s, probably from notion of "post on which a gambling wager was placed," though Weekley suggests "there is a tinge of the burning or baiting metaphor" in this usage. Meaning "to maintain surveilance" (usually stake out) is first recorded 1942, American English colloquial, probably form earlier sense of "mark off territory." Related: Staked; staking.
- stake (n.2)
- "that which is placed at hazard," 1530s, from stake (v.). Plural stakes, as in horse racing, first recorded 1690s (cf. sweepstakes). To have a stake in is recorded from 1784.
- stakeholder (n.)
- 1708, from stake (n.2) + agent noun from hold (v.).
- Stakhanovite (n.)
- 1935, from name of hard-working Soviet coal miner Aleksei Grigorevich Stakhanov (1906-1977), in reference to an efficiency system in which workers increase their piecework production and are rewarded with bonuses and privileges. Soviet authorities publicized his prodigious output as part of a campaign to increase productivity.
- stalactite (n.)
- 1670s, Anglicized from Modern Latin stalactites (used 1654 by Olaus Wormius), from Greek stalaktos "dripping," from stalassein "to trickle," from PIE root *stag- "to seep, drip, drop" (cf. German stallen, Lithuanian telziu "to urinate").
- stalag (n.)
- "German POW camp," 1940, from German Stalag, short for stammlager "main camp," from Old High German stam "stem," from Proto-Germanic *stamniz (see stem (n.)).
- stalagmite (n.)
- 1680s, from Modern Latin stalagmites (Olaus Wormius), from Greek stalagmos "a dropping," or stalagma "a drop, drip," from stalassein "to trickle" (see stalactite).
- stale (adj.)
- c.1300, "freed from dregs or lees" (of ale, wine, etc.), i.e. "having stood long enough to clear," cognate with Middle Dutch stel "stale" (of beer), and probably ultimately from Proto-Germanic base *sta- "stand," the source of Old English standan "to stand," Perhaps via Old French estaler "halt," from Frankish *stal- "position" (see stall (n.1)). The meaning "not fresh" is first recorded late 15c. Figurative sense (of immaterial things) is recorded from 1560s. Related: Staleness.
- stalemate (n.)
- 1765, in chess, from stale "stalemate" (early 15c.) + mate (n.2) "checkmate." Middle English stale is probably from Anglo-French estale "standstill" (see stall (n.2)). A misnomer, because a stale is not a mate. "In England from the 17th c. to the beginning of the 19th c. the player who received stalemate won the game" [OED]. Figurative sense is recorded from 1885.
- Russian, literally "steel," assumed name of Soviet Communist Party and Soviet Union leader Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (1879-1953). Cf. Molotov.
- name of southern Russian city from 1925-1961, from Stalin (q.v.) + -grad (see yard (n.1)). Now Volgograd, formerly Tsaritsyn (1589), from Turkish sarisin "yellowish," in reference to the river water, but associated in Russian with Tsar.
- Stalinism (n.)
- 1927, from Stalin + -ism. Related: Stalinist.
- stalk (n.)
- "stem of a plant," early 14c., probably a diminutive (with -k suffix) of stale "one of the uprights of a ladder, handle, stalk," from Old English stalu "wooden part" (as of a harp), from Proto-Germanic *stalo; related to Old English steala "stalk, support," and steall "place" (see stall (n.1)).
- stalk (v.1)
- "pursue stealthily," Old English -stealcian, as in bestealcian "to steal along," from Proto-Germanic *stalkojanan, probably from a frequentative of the root of steal (cf. hark from hear, talk from tell). Or it may be from a sense of stalk (v.1), influenced by stalk (n.). Meaning "harass obsessively" first recorded 1991. Related: Stalked; stalking.
A stalking-horse was literally a horse trained to allow a fowler to conceal himself behind it to get within range of the game; figurative sense of "person who participates in a proceeding to disguise its real purpose" is recorded from 1610s.
- stalk (v2.)
- "walk haughtily" (opposite meaning of stalk (v1.)) is 1520s, perhaps from stalk (n.) with a notion of "long, awkward strides," or from Old English stealcung "a stalking," related to stealc "steep, lofty."
- stalker (n.)
- early 15c., "a poacher;" also "one who prowls for purposes of theft" (c.1500), agent noun from stalk (v.). Meaning "obsessive harasser" is from early 1990s.
- stall (n.1)
- "place in a stable for animals," Old English steall "place where cattle are kept, place, position," from Proto-Germanic *stallaz (cf. Old Norse stallr "pedestal for idols, altar," Old Frisian stal, Old High German stall "stand, place, stable, stall," German Stall "stable," Stelle "place"), earlier *stalnaz- or *stathlo-, from PIE root *stel- "to put, stand," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place (cf. Greek stele "standing block, slab," Latin stolidus "insensible, dull, brutish," properly "unmovable").
The word passed into Romanic languages (cf. Italian stallo "place," stalla "stable;" Old French estal "place, position, stand, stall," French étal "butcher's stall"). Several meanings, including that of "a stand for selling" (mid-13c., implied in stallage "tax levied for the privilege of erecting a stall at a market or fair"), are from (or influenced by) Old French estal. Meaning "partially enclosed seat in a choir" is attested from c.1400; that of "urinal in a men's room" is from 1967.