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or stye

[stahy] /staɪ/
noun, plural sties. Ophthalmology.
a circumscribed abscess caused by bacterial infection of the glands on the edge of the eyelid; hordeolum.
Origin of sty2
1610-20; by false division of Middle English styanye sty (styan (Old English stīgend sty, literally, rising) + ye eye), taken to be sty on eye Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for stye
Historical Examples
  • Hot applications may be used, but if pus gathers, the stye should be treated by a physician.

  • He did—stye Head—he left me to go there at daybreak this morning.

  • Two families were already established in the place of one, and the house was already like unto a stye.

    Disturbed Ireland Bernard H. Becker
  • As they approached the stye, Harry turned away his head with a look of disgust.

    David Elginbrod George MacDonald
  • It was about a small pig who lived with his mother in a stye which possessed but a limited front yard.

  • I call it sensible for everyone to stye in their proper spere.

    The Dust Flower Basil King
  • He then desired him to walk in and clean himself, that he would only fasten up the stye and follow him.

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 Henry Fielding
  • Accordingly, he visited the patient, which lay groaning in the stye.

    An Old English Home S. Baring-Gould
  • The stye, it was alleged, would die from that hour, and disappear in twenty-four hours.

    Welsh Folk-Lore Elias Owen
  • A Sow had just farrowed, and lay in the stye, with her whole litter of pigs about her.

British Dictionary definitions for stye


noun (pl) styes, sties
inflammation of a sebaceous gland of the eyelid, usually caused by bacteria technical name hordeolum
Word Origin
C15 styanye (mistakenly taken as sty on eye), from Old English stīgend rising, hence swelling, stye + ye eye


noun (pl) sties
a pen in which pigs are housed and fed
any filthy or corrupt place
verb sties, stying, stied
to enclose or be enclosed in a sty
Word Origin
Old English stig; related to Old Norse stīa pen, fold, Old High German stīga, Middle Dutch stije
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
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Word Origin and History for stye



"pen for pigs," Old English sti, stig "hall, pen" (in sti-fearh), from Proto-Germanic *stijan (cf. Old Norse stia "sty, kennel," Old High German stiga "pen for small cattle").

"inflamed swelling in the eyelid," 1610s, probably a back-formation from Middle English styany (as though sty on eye), mid-15c., from Old English stigend "sty," literally "riser," from present participle of stigan "go up, rise," from Proto-Germanic *stig- (see stair).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stye in Medicine

sty or stye (stī)
n. pl. sties or styes (stīz)
Inflammation of one or more sebaceous glands of an eyelid. Also called hordeolum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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