c. 1300, "proud, valiant, strong," from Old French estout "brave, fierce, proud," earlier estolt "strong," from a Germanic source from West Germanic *stult- "proud, stately, strutting" (source also of Middle Low German stolt "stately, proud," German stolz "proud, haughty, arrogant, stately"), from PIE root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place.
Meaning "strong in body, powerfully built" is attested from late 14c., but has been displaced by the (often euphemistic) meaning "thick-bodied, fat and large, bulky in figure," which is first recorded 1804. Original sense preserved in figurative phrase stout-hearted (1550s). Related: Stoutly; stoutness.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place.
It forms all or part of: apostle; catastaltic; diastole; epistle; forestall; Gestalt; install; installment; pedestal; peristalsis; peristaltic; stale (adj.); stalk (n.); stall (n.1) "place in a stable for animals;" stall (n.2) "pretense to avoid doing something;" stall (v.1) "come to a stop, become stuck;" stallage; stallion; stele; stell; still (adj.); stilt; stole (n.); stolid; stolon; stout; stultify; systaltic; systole.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek stellein "to put in order, make ready; equip or dress with weapons, clothes, etc.; prepare (for a journey), dispatch; to furl (sails);" Armenian stełc-anem "to prepare, create;" Albanian shtiell "to wind up, reel up, collect;" Old Church Slavonic po-steljo "I spread;" Old Prussian stallit "to stand;" Old English steall "standing place, stable," Old High German stellen "to set, place."
"short and stout," 1820, probably a varied reduplication of roll (v.). As a noun, it was used as the name of various bowling ball games from 1713, and it was used as early as 1610s in the sense of "rascal." As an appellation of a short, stout person, by 1836.