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stair

[stair]
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noun
  1. one of a flight or series of steps for going from one level to another, as in a building.
  2. stairs, such steps collectively, especially as forming a flight or a series of flights: I was so excited I ran all the way up the stairs.
  3. a series or flight of steps; stairway: a winding stair.

Origin of stair

before 1000; Middle English stey(e)r, Old English stǣger; cognate with Dutch, Low German steiger landing; akin to sty1
Related formsstair·less, adjectivestair·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for stair

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I then remembered that I had passed a door on the stair, and went back to try it.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Probably then the stair and the room below had been an arrangement for the musicians.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Going higher yet, till she all but reached the roof, the stair brought her to a door.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • The major took him again, and carried him up the stair—so thin and light was he.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Hester turned and went down the stair, now on her part a little angry.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald


British Dictionary definitions for stair

stair

noun
  1. one of a flight of stairs
  2. a series of stepsa narrow stair
See also stairs

Word Origin

Old English stæger; related to stīg narrow path, stīgan to ascend, descend, Old Norse steigurligr upright, Middle Dutch steiger ladder
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for stair

n.

Old English stæger "flight of steps," also "a single step," from Proto-Germanic *staigri (cf. Old Norse and Old Frisian stiga, Middle Dutch stighen, Old High German stigan, German steigen, Gothic steigan "to go up, ascend;" Old English stigan "to climb, go;" German Steig "path," Old English stig "narrow path"), from PIE *steigh- "go, rise, stride, step, walk" (cf. Greek steikhein "to go, march in order," stikhos "row, line, rank, verse;" Sanskrit stighnoti "mounts, rises, steps;" Old Church Slavonic stignati "to overtake," stigna "place;" Lithuanian staiga "suddenly;" Old Irish tiagaim "I walk;" Welsh taith "going, walk, way").

Originally also a collective plural; stairs developed by late 14c. OED says stair still is ordinary in Scotland where flight of stairs would be used elsewhere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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