"commotion, disturbance, tumult," late 14c. (in phrase on steir), probably from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse styrr "disturbance, tumult," from the same root as stir (v.)). The sense of "movement, bustle" (1560s) probably is from the English verb.
Old English styrian "to stir, move; rouse, agitate, incite, urge" (transitive and intransitive), from Proto-Germanic *sturjan (source also of Middle Dutch stoeren, Dutch storen "to disturb," Old High German storan "to scatter, destroy," German stören "to disturb"), from PIE *(s)twer- (1) "to turn, whirl" (see storm (n.)). Related: Stirred; stirring. Stir-fry (v.) is attested from 1959.
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