the place of a person or thing as occupied by a successor or substitute: The nephew of the queen came in her stead.
Obsolete. a place or locality.

verb (used with object)

to be of service, advantage, or avail to.


    stand in good stead, to be useful to, especially in a critical situation: Your experience will stand you in good stead.

Origin of stead

before 900; (noun) Middle English, Old English stede; cognate with German Stätte place; akin to German Stadt, Old Norse stathr, Gothic staths, Greek stásis (see stasis); (v.) Middle English steden, derivative of the noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for stead

standing, status, slot, footing, state, station, role, place, position

Examples from the Web for stead

Contemporary Examples of stead

Historical Examples of stead

  • Perhaps, some other he might have let suffer in his stead—not her!

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • We must not envy him on account of them, nor begrudge them to him, nor wish that we had them in his stead.

  • He drew the cane out of the sand, thrusting the stick down in its stead.

  • Boabdil motioned to the Moor to withdraw, and an alfaqui advanced in his stead.

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • I want to come hame as her dochter, no as mistress o' the hoose in her stead.

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for stead



(preceded by in) rare the place, function, or position that should be taken by anotherto come in someone's stead
stand someone in good stead to be useful or of good service to (someone)


(tr) archaic to help or benefit

Word Origin for stead

Old English stede; related to Old Norse stathr place, Old High German stat place, Latin statiō a standing, statim immediately



Christina (Ellen). 1902–83, Australian novelist. Her works include Seven Poor Men of Sydney (1934), The Man who Loved Children (1940), and Cotters' England (1966)
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 stead

Old English stede "place, position, standing, delay," related to standan "to stand," from Proto-Germanic *stadiz (cf. Old Saxon stedi, Old Norse staðr, Swedish stad, Dutch stede "place," Old High German stat, German Stadt "town," Gothic staþs "place"), from PIE *stetis-, from root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Now chiefly in compounds or phrases. "The sense 'town, city' for G. Stadt is a late development from c.1200 when the term began to replace Burg" [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with stead


see in someone's shoes (stead); stand in good stead. Also see under instead.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.