• synonyms


[stur-uh p, stir-, stuhr-]
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  1. a loop, ring, or other contrivance of metal, wood, leather, etc., suspended from the saddle of a horse to support the rider's foot.
  2. any of various similar supports or clamps used for special purposes.
  3. Nautical. a short rope with an eye at the end hung from a yard to support a footrope, the footrope being rove through the eye.
  4. Also called binder. (in reinforced-concrete constructions) a U-shaped or W-shaped bent rod for supporting longitudinal reinforcing rods.
  5. Anatomy. stapes.
    1. a strap of fabric or elastic at the bottom of a pair of pants, worn around and under the foot.
    2. stirrups,(used with a plural verb)close-fitting knit pants with such straps.

Origin of stirrup

before 1000; Middle English; Old English stigrāp (stige ascent + rāp rope); cognate with German Stegreif
Related formsstir·rup·less, adjectivestir·rup·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for stirrup

Historical Examples

  • Halfway up the stretch Allis was riding stirrup to stirrup with her father.


    W. A. Fraser

  • The horse was saddled and bridled; the groom held the stirrup, and up I got.

  • He picked up the bridle-reins, caught the saddle-horn, and thrust his toe into the stirrup.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • "I'll hold on to you; and you must hold on to the stirrup and to the horse's mane," she said.

  • He led her to her horse and held the stirrup for her as she swung to the saddle.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

British Dictionary definitions for stirrup


  1. Also called: stirrup iron either of two metal loops on a riding saddle, with a flat footpiece through which a rider puts his foot for support. They are attached to the saddle by stirrup leathers
  2. a U-shaped support or clamp made of metal, wood, leather, etc
  3. nautical one of a set of ropes fastened to a yard at one end and having a thimble at the other through which a footrope is rove for support
  4. the usual US name for étrier

Word Origin

Old English stigrāp, from stīg path, step (related to Old High German stīgan to move up) + rāp rope; related to Old Norse stigreip, Old High German stegareif
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 stirrup


Old English stigrap, literally "climbing rope," from stige "a climbing, ascent" (from Proto-Germanic *stigaz "climbing;" see stair) + rap (see rope). Originally a looped rope as a help for mounting. Germanic cognates include Old Norse stigreip, Old High German stegareif, German stegreif. Surgical device used in childbirth, etc., so called from 1884. Stirrup-cup (1680s) was a cup of wine or other drink handed to a man already on horseback and setting out on a journey, hence "a parting glass" (cf. French le vin de l'etrier).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stirrup in Medicine


(stûrəp, stĭr-)
  1. stapes