stare one in the face, to be urgent or impending; confront: The income-tax deadline is staring us in the face.

Origin of stare

before 900; Middle English staren, Old English starian; cognate with Dutch staren, German starren, Old Norse stara; akin to stark, starve
Related formsstar·er, nounstar·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for stare

1. See gaze. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for staring

peer, beam, glare, look, gawk, rubberneck, eye, fix, goggle, focus, gaze, ogle, bore, eyeball, rivet, glim

Examples from the Web for staring

Contemporary Examples of staring

Historical Examples of staring

  • He sat with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands, staring at the grass.


    William J. Locke

  • "Yes," said Dick, staring in front of him and speaking in a dull, even voice.


    William J. Locke

  • The man is a very confident, he is a very bold, staring man!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • They stood silent, she looking nowhere, and he staring now in this direction, now in that.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • The candle was in her hand, and she was staring at the letter.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for staring




(intr often foll by at) to look or gaze fixedly, often with hostility or rudeness
(intr) (of an animal's fur, bird's feathers, etc) to stand on end because of fear, ill health, etc
(intr) to stand out as obvious; glare
stare one in the face to be glaringly obvious or imminent


the act or an instance of staring
Derived Formsstarer, noun

Word Origin for stare

Old English starian; related to Old Norse stara, Old High German starēn to stare, Greek stereos stiff, Latin consternāre to confuse




dialect a starling

Word Origin for stare

Old English stær
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 staring



Old English starian "to look fixedly at," from Proto-Germanic *star- "be rigid" (cf. Old Norse stara, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch staren, Old High German staren, German starren "to stare at;" German starren "to stiffen," starr "stiff;" Old Norse storr "proud;" Old High German storren "to stand out, project;" Gothic andstaurran "to be obstinate"), from PIE root *ster- "strong, firm, stiff, rigid" (cf. Lithuanian storas "thick," stregti "to become frozen;" Sanskrit sthirah "hard, firm;" Persian suturg "strong;" Old Church Slavonic staru "old;" cf. sterile and torpor). Not originally implying rudeness. Related: Stared; staring.



"starling," from Old English (see starling).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper