See more synonyms for stir on
verb (used with object), stirred, stir·ring.
  1. to move one's hand or an implement continuously or repeatedly through (a liquid or other substance) in order to cool, mix, agitate, dissolve, etc., any or all of the component parts: to stir one's coffee with a spoon.
  2. to set in tremulous, fluttering, or irregular motion: A soft breeze stirred the leaves.
  3. to affect strongly; excite: to stir pity; to stir one's heart.
  4. to incite, instigate, or prompt (usually followed by up): to stir up a people to rebellion.
  5. to move briskly; bestir: to stir oneself.
  6. to move, especially in a slight way: He would not stir a finger to help them.
  7. to rouse from inactivity, quiet, contentment, indifference, etc. (usually followed by up): to stir up his potential.
  8. to bring up for notice or discussion.
  9. to disturb; trouble.
verb (used without object), stirred, stir·ring.
  1. to move, especially slightly or lightly: Not a leaf stirred.
  2. to move around, especially briskly; be active: Everyone in the house was stirring.
  3. to become active, as from some rousing or quickening impulse.
  4. to be emotionally moved or strongly affected.
  5. to be in circulation, current, or afoot: Is there any news stirring?
  1. the act of stirring or moving.
  2. the sound made by stirring or moving slightly.
  3. a state or occasion of general excitement; commotion: The news created a stir.
  4. a mental impulse, sensation, or feeling: a stir of hope.
  5. a jog, poke, or thrust: He gave the refuse a stir with his foot.
  6. movement, especially brisk and busy movement: There was too much clamor and stir for her.

Origin of stir

before 900; Middle English stiren (v.), Old English styrian; cognate with German stören; akin to Old Norse styrr disturbance; see storm
Related formsstir·ra·ble, adjectivestir·less, adjectivestir·less·ly, adverbun·stir·ra·ble, adjectiveun·stirred, adjectivewell-stirred, adjective

Synonyms for stir

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

17. See ado.

Antonyms for stir

17. quiet. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for stirred

Contemporary Examples of stirred

Historical Examples of stirred

  • I like to be stirred by emotion, I suppose, and I like to study character.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • The sympathy of it stirred the listener to fearful memories.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • As he opened the hall door, Christine stirred in the room beyond.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Kingozi stirred uneasily, turning his eyes in the direction of the scientist.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • As they had fallen together, so together they stirred and rose—rose unharmed.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

British Dictionary definitions for stirred


verb stirs, stirring or stirred
  1. to move an implement such as a spoon around in (a liquid) so as to mix up the constituentsshe stirred the porridge
  2. to change or cause to change position; disturb or be disturbedhe stirred in his sleep
  3. (intr often foll by from) to venture or depart (from one's usual or preferred place)he won't stir from the fireside
  4. (intr) to be active after a rest; be up and about
  5. (tr) to excite or stimulate, esp emotionally
  6. to move (oneself) briskly or vigorously; exert (oneself)
  7. (tr) to rouse or awakento stir someone from sleep; to stir memories
  8. informal (when tr, foll by up) to cause or incite others to cause (trouble, arguments, etc)
  9. stir one's stumps informal to move or become active
  1. the act or an instance of stirring or the state of being stirred
  2. a strong reaction, esp of excitementhis publication caused a stir
  3. a slight movement
  4. NZ informal a noisy party
See also stir up
Derived Formsstirrable, adjective

Word Origin for stir

Old English styrian; related to Middle High German stürn to poke, stir, Norwegian styrja to cause a commotion; see storm, sturgeon


  1. a slang word for prison in stir

Word Origin for stir

C19: perhaps from Romany stariben prison
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 stirred



Old English styrian, from Proto-Germanic *sturjanan (cf. Middle Dutch stoeren, Dutch storen "to disturb," Old High German storan "to scatter, destroy," German stören "to disturb"), probably from the root of storm (q.v.). The noun sense of "commotion, disturbance, tumult" (late 14c., in phrase on steir) is probably from Old Norse styrr "disturbance, tumult" (see storm), from the same Proto-Germanic root; the sense of "movement, bustle" is probably from the English verb. Stir-fry (v.) is attested from 1959.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with stirred


In addition to the idioms beginning with stir

  • stir up
  • stir up a hornets' nest

also see:

  • cause a commotion (stir)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.