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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for stye
Historical Examples
  • He did—stye Head—he left me to go there at daybreak this morning.

  • As they approached the stye, Harry turned away his head with a look of disgust.

    David Elginbrod George MacDonald
  • I call it sensible for everyone to stye in their proper spere.

    The Dust Flower Basil King
  • Accordingly, he visited the patient, which lay groaning in the stye.

    An Old English Home S. Baring-Gould
  • A Sow had just farrowed, and lay in the stye, with her whole litter of pigs about her.

  • He ought to have been at home safe in his stye, and not wandering about the hills.

    Madam How and Lady Why Charles Kingsley
  • Again, a stye on the eye was removable by rubbing it with a wedding ring.

    Folk Lore

    James Napier
  • Why, he stuffed it well down into the porridge, and bade them go and give it to the biggest pig in the king's stye.

    Tales from the Fjeld P. Chr. Asbjrnsen
  • They say it makes no more difference to a sailor what ship he is on board, than it does to a hog what stye he is in.

  • As he jumped from the coop to the wall of the stye, he caught sight of several rats scampering to their holes.

    Creatures of the Night Alfred W. Rees
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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