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stadium

[stey-dee-uh m]
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noun, plural sta·di·ums, sta·di·a [stey-dee-uh] /ˈsteɪ di ə/.
  1. a sports arena, usually oval or horseshoe-shaped, with tiers of seats for spectators.
  2. an ancient Greek course for foot races, typically semicircular, with tiers of seats for spectators.
  3. an ancient Greek and Roman unit of length, the Athenian unit being equal to about 607 feet (185 meters).
  4. a stage in a process or in the life of an organism.
  5. Entomology. stage(def 11b).
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Origin of stadium

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek stádion unit of distance, racecourse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for stadium

stadium

noun plural -diums or -dia (-dɪə)
  1. a sports arena with tiered seats for spectators
  2. (in ancient Greece) a course for races, usually located between two hills providing natural slopes for tiers of seats
  3. an ancient Greek measure of length equivalent to about 607 feet or 184 metres
  4. (in many arthropods) the interval between two consecutive moultings
  5. obsolete a particular period or stage in the development of a disease
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Word Origin

C16: via Latin from Greek stadion, changed from spadion a racecourse, from spān to pull; also influenced by Greek stadios steady
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 stadium

n.

late 14c., "a foot race, an ancient measure of length," from Latin stadium "a measure of length, a race course" (commonly one-eighth of a Roman mile; translated in early English Bibles by furlong), from Greek stadion "a measure of length, a running track," especially the track at Olympia, which was one stadium in length.

The Greek word might literally mean "fixed standard of length" (from stadios "firm, fixed," from PIE root *sta- "to stand"), or it may be from spadion, from span "to draw up, pull," with form influenced by stadios.

The meaning "running track," recorded in English from c.1600, was extended to mean in modern-day context "large, open oval structure with tiers of seats for viewing sporting events" (1834).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper