stale (adj.)

c. 1300, "freed from dregs or lees" (of ale, wine, etc.), probably literally "having stood long enough to clear," from Old French estale "settled, clear," from estal "place, fixed position," from Frankish *stal- "position," from Proto-Germanic *stol-, from PIE root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place.

Cognate with Middle Dutch stel "stale" (of beer and old urine). Originally a desirable quality (in beer and wine); the meaning "not fresh" is first recorded late 15c. Figurative sense (of immaterial things) "old and trite, hackneyed" is recorded from 1560s. As a noun, "that which has become tasteless by exposure," hence "a prostitute" (in Shakespeare, etc.). Related: Staleness.

stale (v.)

mid-15c., from stale (adj.). Related: Staled; staling.

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