Etymology
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stead (n.)

Old English stede "place, position; standing, firmness, stability, fixity," from Proto-Germanic *stadi- (source also of Old Saxon stedi, Old Norse staðr "place, spot; stop, pause; town," Swedish stad, Dutch stede "place," Old High German stat, German Stadt "town," Gothic staþs "place"), from PIE *steti-, suffixed form of root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." Related to stand.

Now chiefly in compounds or phrases. Meaning "assistance, use, benefit, advantage" is from c. 1300. Meaning "frame on which a bed is laid" is from c. 1400. The German use of Stadt for "town, city" "is a late development from c. 1200 when the term began to replace Burg" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names]. The Steads was 16c. English for "the Hanseatic cities."

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bedstead (n.)
"framework for supporting a bed," c. 1400, from bed (n.) + stead.
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farmstead (n.)
"collection of buildings belonging to a farm," 1785, from farm (n.) + stead (n.).
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bestead (v.)
1580s, "to help, support, prop," also "to profit, benefit," from be- + stead (v.); see stead.
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instead (adv.)
1590s, contraction of Middle English prepositional phrase ine stede (early 13c.; see stead), itself a loan-translation of Latin in loco (French en lieu de). Typically written as two words until mid-17c.
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homestead (n.)
Old English hamstede "home, town, village," from home (n.) + stead (q.v.). In U.S. usage, "a lot of land adequate for the maintenance of a family" (1690s), defined by the Homestead Act of 1862 as 160 acres. Similar formation in Dutch heemstede, Danish hjemsted.
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steadfast (adj.)
Old English stedefæst "secure in position, steady, firm in its place," from stede (see stead) + fæst (see fast (adj.)); similar formation in Middle Low German stedevast, Old Norse staðfastr "steadfast, firm; faithful, staunch, firm in one's mind." Of persons, in English, "unshakable, stubborn, resolute" from c. 1200. Related: Steadfastly, steadfastness.
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steady (adj.)
1520s, "firmly fixed in place or station" (replacing earlier steadfast), from stead + adjectival suffix -y (2), perhaps on model of Middle Dutch, Middle Low German stadig. Old English had stæððig "grave, serious," and stedig "barren," but neither seems to be the direct source of the modern word. Old Norse cognate stoðugr "steady, stable" was closer in sense. As an adverb from c. 1600.

Originally of things; of persons or minds from c. 1600. Meaning "working at an even rate" is first recorded in 1540s. Steady progress is etymologically a contradiction in terms. Steady state first attested 1885; as a cosmological theory (propounded by Bondi, Gold, and Hoyle), it is attested from 1948. Related: Steadily.
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*sta- 

*stā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to stand, set down, make or be firm," with derivatives meaning "place or thing that is standing."

It forms all or part of: Afghanistan; Anastasia; apostasy; apostate; armistice; arrest; assist; astatic; astatine; Baluchistan; bedstead; circumstance; consist; constable; constant; constitute; contrast; cost; desist; destination; destine; destitute; diastase; distance; distant; ecstasy; epistasis; epistemology; establish; estaminet; estate; etagere; existence; extant; Hindustan; histidine; histo-; histogram; histology; histone; hypostasis; insist; instant; instauration; institute; interstice; isostasy; isostatic; Kazakhstan; metastasis; obstacle; obstetric; obstinate; oust; Pakistan; peristyle; persist; post (n.1) "timber set upright;" press (v.2) "force into service;" presto; prostate; prostitute; resist; rest (v.2) "to be left, remain;" restitution; restive; restore; shtetl; solstice; stable (adj.) "secure against falling;" stable (n.) "building for domestic animals;" stage; stalag; stalwart; stamen; -stan; stance; stanchion; stand; standard; stanza; stapes; starboard; stare decisis; stasis; -stat; stat; state (n.1) "circumstances, conditions;" stater; static; station; statistics; stator; statue; stature; status; statute; staunch; (adj.) "strong, substantial;" stay (v.1) "come to a halt, remain in place;" stay (n.2) "strong rope which supports a ship's mast;" stead; steed; steer (n.) "male beef cattle;" steer (v.) "guide the course of a vehicle;" stem (n.) "trunk of a plant;" stern (n.) "hind part of a ship;" stet; stoa; stoic; stool; store; stound; stow; stud (n.1) "nailhead, knob;" stud (n.2) "horse kept for breeding;" stylite; subsist; substance; substitute; substitution; superstition; system; Taurus; understand.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit tisthati "stands;" Avestan histaiti "to stand;" Persian -stan "country," literally "where one stands;" Greek histēmi "put, place, cause to stand; weigh," stasis "a standing still," statos "placed," 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 stojuos "I place myself," statau "I place;" Old Church Slavonic staja "place myself," stanu "position;" Gothic standan, Old English standan "to stand," stede "place;" Old Norse steði "anvil;" Old Irish sessam "the act of standing."

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vicegerent (n.)
1530s, from Medieval Latin vicegerentem (nominative vicegerens), from Latin vicem, accusative of vicus "stead, place, office," (see vicarious) + gerens, present participle of gerere "to carry" (see gest). From 1570s as an adjective.
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