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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 stairs

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • At the head of the stairs they parted, Milbrey joining the lady who had waited for him.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He took his uncle up in his strong arms, and moved toward the stairs.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • What I hear at night is the creaking of stairs, when I know that nobody ought to be stirring.

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Grace hastened down the stairs, with her friend at her heels.

  • He swept up the blankets and went down the stairs to the first floor.


British Dictionary definitions for stairs

stairs

pl n
  1. a flight of steps leading from one storey or level to another, esp indoors
  2. below stairs British in the servants' quarters; in domestic service

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 stairs

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