stenography (n.) Look up stenography at
"shorthand," c. 1600, from steno- "narrow" + -graphy. Related: Stenographic; stenographical.
stenosis (n.) Look up stenosis at
1846, medical Latin, from Greek stenosis "narrowing," from stenoun "to narrow," from stenos "narrow" (see steno-) + -osis.
stent (n.) Look up stent at
"tube implanted temporarily," 1964, named for Charles T. Stent (1807-1885), English dentist.
stentorian (adj.) Look up stentorian at
"of powerful voice," c. 1600, from Stentor, legendary Greek herald in the Trojan War, whose voice (described in the "Iliad") was as loud as 50 men. His name is from Greek stenein "groan, moan," from PIE imitative root *(s)ten-, source of Old English þunor "thunder."
step (v.) Look up step at
Old English steppan (Anglian), stæppan (West Saxon) "take a step," from West Germanic *stap- "tread" (cognates: Old Frisian stapa, Middle Dutch, Dutch stappen, Old High German stapfon, German stapfen "step"), from PIE root *stebh- "post, stem; to support, place firmly on" (see staff (n.); cognates: Old Church Slavonic stopa "step, pace," stepeni "step, degree"). The notion is perhaps "a treading firmly on; a foothold."

Transitive sense (as in step foot in) attested from 1530s. Related: Stepped; stepping. Originally strong (past tense stop, past participle bestapen); weak forms emerged 13c., universal from 16c. To step out "leave for a short time" is from 1530s; meaning "to go out in public in style" is from 1907. Step on it "hurry up" is 1923, from notion of gas pedal.
step (n.) Look up step at
Old English steppa (Mercian), stæpe, stepe (West Saxon) "stair, act of stepping," from the source of step (v.). Compare Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch stap, Old High German stapfo, German Stapfe "footstep"). From late Old English as "degree on a scale." Figurative meaning "action which leads toward a result" is recorded from 1540s. In dancing, from 1670s. Meaning "type of military pace" is from 1798. Warning phrase watch your step is attested from 1911. Step by step indicating steady progression is from 1580s. To follow in (someone's) steps is from mid-13c.
step- Look up step- at
Old English steop-, with connotations of "loss," in combinations like steopcild "orphan," related to astiepan, bestiepan "to bereave, to deprive of parents or children," from Proto-Germanic *steupa- "bereft" (cognates: Old Frisian stiap-, Old Norse stjup-, Swedish styv-, Middle Low German stef-, Dutch stief-, Old High German stiof-, German stief-), literally "pushed out," from PIE *steup-, from root *(s)teu- (1) "to push, stick, knock," with derivatives referring to fragments (see steep (adj.)). Barnhart suggests the forms in -f- are by assimilation of the first sound in following words for "father."

Etymologically, a stepfather or stepmother is one who becomes father or mother to an orphan, but the notion of orphanage faded in 20c. and came to denote simply relation through marriage. For sense evolution, compare Latin privignus "stepson," related to privus "deprived." Compare orphan (n.).
step-dance (n.) Look up step-dance at
one in which the steps are more important than the figure, especially one with difficult steps, 1857, from step (n.) + dance (n.). Related: Step-dancing (1872).
step-daughter (n.) Look up step-daughter at
Old English stepdohtor; see step- + daughter (n.). Similar formation in German Stieftochter.
step-ladder (n.) Look up step-ladder at
also stepladder, one with flat steps instead of rungs, 1728, from step (n.) + ladder.
step-sister (n.) Look up step-sister at
also stepsister, mid-15c., from step- + sister (n.).
step-son (n.) Look up step-son at
also stepson, Old English steopsunu; see step- + son.
stepbrother (n.) Look up stepbrother at
also step-brother, mid-15c., from step- + brother (n.).
stepchild (n.) Look up stepchild at
also step-child, Old English steopcild; see step- + child (n.). Old English also had steopbearn. Similar formation in German Stiefkind.
stepfather (n.) Look up stepfather at
also step-father, Old English steopfæder; see step- + father.
Stephanie Look up Stephanie at
fem. proper name, female form of Stephen. A top-20 name for girls born in U.S. 1969-1996.
Stephen Look up Stephen at
masc. proper name, from Latin Stephanus, from Greek Stephanos, from stephanos "crown, wreath, garland, chaplet; crown of victory," hence "victory, prize, honor, glory," properly "that which surrounds;" also used of the ring of spectators around a fight or the wall of a town, from stephein "to encircle, crown, wreathe, tie around," from PIE root *stebh- "post, stem; place firmly on, fasten" (see step (v.)). Exclusively a monk's name in Old English, it became common after the Conquest. Saint Stephen, stoned to death, was said to be Christianity's first martyr.
Stepin Fetchit Look up Stepin Fetchit at
type of stereotypical black roles in Hollywood, or in popular culture generally, from stage name (a play on step and fetch it) of popular black vaudeville actor Lincoln Theodore Perry (1902-1985), who first appeared in films under that name in "In Old Kentucky" (1927). Perry said he took the name from a racehorse on which he'd won some money.
stepmother (n.) Look up stepmother at
also step-mother, Old English steopmodor; see step- + mother (n.1). Associated with parsimony and cruelty at least since Middle English.
Is Moder was ded, his fader nam an oþur wijf. ... seint Edward heo louede luyte, for stepmoder is selde guod. ["South English Legendary," c. 1300]
steppe (n.) Look up steppe at
vast treeless plain of southeastern Europe and of Asia, 1670s, from German steppe and directly from Russian step', of unknown origin. Introduced in Western Europe by Humboldt.
stepper (n.) Look up stepper at
"horse with a showy gait," 1835, agent noun from step (v.).
stepping (n.) Look up stepping at
early 14c., verbal noun from step (v.). Stepping stone first recorded early 14c.; in the figurative sense 1650s.
stercoraceous (adj.) Look up stercoraceous at
"consisting of or pertaining to feces," 1731, from Latin stercus (genitive stercoris) "dung" (from metathesized form of PIE *skert-, extended form of root *sker- (4) "excrement, dung") + -aceous.
stere (n.) Look up stere at
unit of the metric system for solid measure, 1798, from French stère "unit of volume equal to one cubic meter," from Greek stereos "solid, stiff, firm," from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff, rigid" (see stereo-). Little used, cubic meter generally serving instead.
stereo Look up stereo at
1823 as a shortening of stereotype (n.); 1876 as a shortening of stereoscope; 1954 as a shortening of stereophonic (adj.); the noun meaning "stereophonic record or tape player" is recorded from 1964.
stereo- Look up stereo- at
before vowels stere-, word-forming element meaning "solid, firm; three-dimensional; stereophonic," from comb. form of Greek stereos "solid," from PIE *ster- (1) "stiff, rigid, firm, strong" (cognates: Greek steresthai "be deprived of," steira "sterile," sterphnios "stiff, rigid," sterphos "hide, skin;" Latin sterilis "barren, unproductive;" Sanskrit sthirah "hard, firm," starih "a barren cow;" Persian suturg "strong;" Lithuanian storas "thick," stregti "to become frozen;" Old Church Slavonic strublu "strong, hard," sterica "a barren cow," staru "old" (hence Russian stary "old"); Gothic stairo "barren;" Old Norse stirtla "a barren cow," Old English starian "to stare," stearc "stiff, strong, rigid," steorfan "to die," literally "become stiff," styrne "severe, strict").
stereophonic (adj.) Look up stereophonic at
1927, from stereo- + phonic. Related: Stereophony (1950); stereophonics (1958).
stereoptican (n.) Look up stereoptican at
"double magic lantern producing dissolving views or impressions of three-dimensionality to pictured objects," 1858, from stereo- + Greek optikon, neuter of optikos "pertaining to sight" (see optic).
stereoscope (n.) Look up stereoscope at
1838, coined by inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) from stereo- + -scope. Instrument allowing binocular vision of two identical pictures that appear as a single image with relief and solidity. Related: Stereoscopy; stereoscopically.
stereoscopic (adj.) Look up stereoscopic at
1852, from stereoscope + -ic.
stereotype (n.) Look up stereotype at
1798, "method of printing from a plate," from French stéréotype (adj.) "printed by means of a solid plate of type," from Greek stereos "solid" (see stereo-) + French type "type" (see type (n.)). Meaning "a stereotype plate" is from 1817. Meaning "image perpetuated without change" is first recorded 1850, from the verb in this sense. Meaning "preconceived and oversimplified notion of characteristics typical of a person or group" is recorded from 1922.
stereotype (v.) Look up stereotype at
1804, "to cast a stereotype plate," from stereotype (n.). From 1819 in the figurative sense "fix firmly or unchangeably." By 1953 as "assign preconceived and oversimplified notion of characteristics typical of a person or group." Related: Stereotyped; stereotyping.
stereotypical (adj.) Look up stereotypical at
1949, in the figurative sense, from stereotype (n.) + -ical. Stereotypic is from 1801 in the literal sense.
stereotyping (n.) Look up stereotyping at
1807, verbal noun from stereotype (v.). Figurative sense from 1888.
sterile (adj.) Look up sterile at
mid-15c., "barren," from Middle French stérile "not producing fruit," from Latin sterilis "barren, unproductive, unfruitful; unrequited; unprofitable," from PIE *ster- (1) "stiff, rigid, firm, strong" (see stereo-). Also see torpor. Originally in English with reference to soil; of persons (chiefly females), from 1530s. The sense of "sterilized, free from living germs" is first recorded 1877.
sterility (n.) Look up sterility at
early 15c., from Middle French sterilite, from Latin sterilitatem (nominative sterilitas) "unfruitfulness, barrenness," from sterilis (see sterile).
sterilization (n.) Look up sterilization at
1826, noun of action from sterilize.
sterilize (v.) Look up sterilize at
"destroy the fertility of," 1690s (in reference to soil), from French stériliser or else from sterile + -ize; of living things from 1828. Meaning "render free of micro-organisms" is from 1878. Related: Sterilized; sterilizing.
sterling (n.) Look up sterling at
c. 1300, "silver penny," probably from Middle English sterre (see star (n.)), according to OED "presumably" from the stars that appeared in the design of certain Norman coins, + diminutive suffix -ling. But starred coins were not especially common among Anglo-Saxon currency, and the stars on them tended to be small. The other theory [Kluge] is that it derives from Old French estedre "stater" (see stater). Sense broadened by 1560s to "money having the quality of the sterling," and c. 1600 to "English money in general." As an adjective from early 15c. From 1640s in general sense of "capable of standing a test" (as a sound coin would). A pound sterling was originally "a pound weight of sterlings," equal to about 240 of them.
stern (adj.) Look up stern at
Old English styrne "severe, strict, grave, hard, cruel," from Proto-Germanic *sternijaz (cognates: Middle High German sterre, German starr "stiff," störrig "obstinate;" Gothic andstaurran "to be stiff;" Old Norse stara; Old English starian "to look or gaze upon"), from PIE root *ster- (1) "rigid, stiff" (see stereo-). Related: Sternly; sternness.
stern (n.) Look up stern at
early 13c., "hind part of a ship; steering gear of a ship," probably from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse stjorn "a steering," related to or derived from styra "to guide" (see steer (v.)). Or the word may come from Old Frisian stiarne "rudder," which also is related to steer (v.). Stern-wheeler as a type of steam-boat is from 1855, American English.
Stern gang (n.) Look up Stern gang at
militant Zionist terrorist organization (officially Lohame Herut Yisra'el "Fighters for the Freedom of Israel") founded 1940 by Avram Stern (1907-1942).
Sterno (n.) Look up Sterno at
U.S. proprietary name for solidified alcohol used as fuel for cooking stoves, 1915, by S. Sternau & Co., New York, N.Y. Noted by 1935 as a source of dangerous but cheap alcohol for drinking.
sternocleidomastoid (adj.) Look up sternocleidomastoid at
medical Latin, from sterno- "sternum," comb. form of Greek sternon or Latin sternum (see sternum) + Latinized comb. form of Greek kleis (see clavicle) + mastoid.
sternum (n.) Look up sternum at
"breastbone," 1660s, from Greek sternon "chest, breast, breastbone" (in Homer, only of males), also "the breast as the seat of affections," related to stornynai "to spread out," from PIE *ster-no- "to stretch, extend," from root *stere-, *ster- "to spread," related to stornynai "to spread out" (see structure (n.)), on the notion of the chest as broad and flat, as opposed to the neck. Related: Sternal.
sternward (adj.) Look up sternward at
1832, from stern (n.) + -ward.
steroid (n.) Look up steroid at
naturally occuring substance based on a carbon skeleton similar to that of sterol molecules, 1936, from sterol + -oid "resembling." Related: Steroids.
sterol (n.) Look up sterol at
"white, crystalline substance discovered in gallstones," 1913, abstracted from cholesterol.
stertorous (adj.) Look up stertorous at
"characterized by snoring," 1802, from Modern Latin stertor (from Latin stertere "to snore," from PIE imitative root *pster-) + -ous. Related: Stertorously; stertorousness.
stet Look up stet at
direction to printer to disregard correction made to text, 1755, from Latin stet "let it stand," third person singular present subjunctive of stare "to stand, stand upright, be stiff," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, set down, make or be firm," with derivatives meaning "place or thing that is standing" (cognates: Sanskrit tisthati "stands;" Avestan histaiti "to stand;" Persian -stan "country," literally "where one stands;" Greek histemi "put, place, cause to stand; weigh," stasis "a standing still," statos "placed," stater "a weight, coin," stylos "pillar;" Latin sistere "stand still, stop, make stand, place, produce in court," status "manner, position, condition, attitude," stare "to stand," statio "station, post;" Lithuanian stojus "place myself," statau "place;" Old Church Slavonic staja "place myself," stanu "position;" Gothic standan, Old English standan "to stand," stede "place," steall "place where cattle are kept;" Old Norse steði "anvil," stallr "pedestal for idols, altar;" German Stall "a stable;" Old Irish sessam "the act of standing").