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."

updated on August 16, 2018

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Definitions of stead from WordNet

stead (n.)
the post or function properly or customarily occupied or served by another;
can you go in my stead?
Synonyms: position / place / lieu
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.