Words related to *ster-
white, solid substance present in body tissues, 1894, earlier cholesterin, from French cholestrine (Chevreul, 1827), from Latinized form of Greek khole "bile" (from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives denoting "green, yellow," and thus "bile, gall") + steros "solid, stiff" (from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff"). So called because originally found in gallstones (Conradi, 1775). The name was changed to the modern form (with chemical suffix -ol, denoting an alcohol) after the compound was discovered to be a secondary alcohol.
late 14c., from Old English *stercan (Mercian), *stiercan (West Saxon) "make rigid," found in stercedferhð "fixed, hard, resolute" (related to stearc "stiff"), from Proto-Germanic *starkjan "to make hard" (source also of German Stärke "strength, starch," Swedish stärka "to starch"), from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff." Related: Starched; starching.
Old English starian "to stare, gaze, look fixedly at," from Proto-Germanic *staren "be rigid" (source also of Old Norse stara, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch staren, Old High German staren, German starren "to stare at;" German starren "to stiffen," starr "stiff;" Old Norse storr "proud;" Old High German storren "to stand out, project;" Gothic andstaurran "to be obstinate"), from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff."
Not originally implying rudeness. To stare (someone) down is from 1848. Related: Stared; staring.
Old English stearc "stiff, strong, rigid, obstinate; stern, severe, hard; harsh, rough, violent," from Proto-Germanic *starka- (source also of Old Norse sterkr, Danish, Old Frisian sterk, Middle Dutch starc, Old High German starah, German stark, Gothic *starks), from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff." From the same root as stern (adj.).
Meaning "utter, sheer, complete" first recorded c. 1400, perhaps from influence of common phrase stark dead (late 14c.), with stark mistaken as an intensive adjective. Sense of "bare, barren" is from 1833. As an adverb from c. 1200. Related: Starkly; starkness. Stark-raving (adj.) is from 1640s; earlier stark-staring 1530s.
1520s, deformed (by influence of stark (adj.)) from Middle English start naked (early 13c.), from Old English steort "tail, rump," from Proto-Germanic *stertaz (source also of Old Norse stertr, Danish stjert, Middle Dutch stert, Dutch staart, Old High German sterz, German Sterz), from PIE *sterd-, extended form of root *ster- (1) "stiff." Hence British slang starkers "naked" (1923).
Old English *steortian, *stiertan, Kentish variants of styrtan "to leap up" (attested only in Northumbrian past participle sturtende), from Proto-Germanic *stert- (source also of Old Frisian stirta "to fall, tumble," Middle Dutch sterten, Dutch storten "to rush, fall," Old High German sturzen, German stürzen "to hurl, throw, plunge"). According to Watkins, the notion is "move briskly, move swiftly," and the Proto-Germanic word is from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff."
From "move or spring suddenly," sense evolved by c. 1300 to "awaken suddenly, flinch or recoil in alarm," and by 1660s to "cause to begin acting or operating." Meaning "begin to move, leave, depart" (without implication of suddenness) is from 1821. The connection probably is from sporting senses ("to force an animal from its lair," late 14c.). Transitive sense of "set in motion or action" is from 1670s; specifically as "to set (machinery) in action" from 1841.
Related: Started; starting. To start something "cause trouble" is 1915, American English colloquial. To start over "begin again" is from 1912. Starting-line in running is from 1855; starting-block in running first recorded 1937.
Old English steorfan "to die" (past tense stearf, past participle storfen), literally "become stiff," from Proto-Germanic *sterbanan "be stiff, starve" (source also of Old Frisian sterva, Old Saxon sterban, Dutch sterven, Old High German sterban "to die," Old Norse stjarfi "tetanus"), from extended form of PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff."
The conjugation became weak in English by 16c. The sense narrowed to "die of cold" (14c.); transitive meaning "to kill with hunger" is first recorded 1520s (earlier to starve of hunger, early 12c.). Intransitive sense of "to die of hunger" dates from 1570s. German cognate sterben retains the original sense of the word, but the English has come so far from its origins that starve to death (1910) is now common.