verb (used with object)

to work upon, join, mend, or fasten with or as if with stitches; sew (often followed by together): to stitch together flour sacks to make curtains; a plan that was barely stitched together.
to ornament or embellish with stitches: to stitch a shirt with a monogram.

verb (used without object)

to make stitches, join together, or sew.

Nearby words

  1. stirrup jar,
  2. stirrup leather,
  3. stirrup pump,
  4. stishie,
  5. stishovite,
  6. stitch abscess,
  7. stitch in time, a,
  8. stitch up,
  9. stitch wheel,
  10. stitchery


    in stitches, convulsed with laughter: The comedian had us in stitches all evening.

Origin of stitch

before 900; (noun) Middle English stiche, Old English stice a thrust, stab; cognate with German Stich prick; akin to stick2; (v.) Middle English stichen to stab, pierce, derivative of the noun

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for in stitches



a link made by drawing a thread through material by means of a needle
a loop of yarn formed around an implement used in knitting, crocheting, etc
a particular method of stitching or shape of stitch
a sharp spasmodic pain in the side resulting from running or exercising
(usually used with a negative) informal the least fragment of clothinghe wasn't wearing a stitch
agriculture the ridge between two furrows
drop a stitch to allow a loop of wool to fall off a knitting needle accidentally while knitting
in stitches informal laughing uncontrollably


(tr) to sew, fasten, etc, with stitches
(intr) to be engaged in sewing
(tr) to bind together (the leaves of a book, pamphlet, etc) with wire staples or thread

noun, verb

an informal word for suture (def. 1b), suture (def. 6)
See also stitch up

Derived Formsstitcher, noun

Word Origin for stitch

Old English stice sting; related to Old Frisian steke, Old High German stih, Gothic stiks, Old Norse tikta sharp

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 in stitches
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for in stitches




A sudden sharp pain, especially in the side.
A single suture.


To suture.

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

Idioms and Phrases with in stitches

in stitches

Laughing uncontrollably, as in Joke after joke had me in stitches. Although the precise idiom dates only from about 1930, Shakespeare had a similar expression in Twelfth Night (3:2): “If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow me.” Stitches here refers to the sharp local pain (known as a stitch in the side) that can make one double over, much as a fit of laughter can.


In addition to the idiom beginning with stitch

  • stitch in time, a

also see:

  • in stitches
  • without a stitch on
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.