• synonyms


[stur-uh p, stir-, stuhr-]
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  1. a loop, ring, or other contrivance of metal, wood, leather, etc., suspended from the saddle of a horse to support the rider's foot.
  2. any of various similar supports or clamps used for special purposes.
  3. Nautical. a short rope with an eye at the end hung from a yard to support a footrope, the footrope being rove through the eye.
  4. Also called binder. (in reinforced-concrete constructions) a U-shaped or W-shaped bent rod for supporting longitudinal reinforcing rods.
  5. Anatomy. stapes.
    1. a strap of fabric or elastic at the bottom of a pair of pants, worn around and under the foot.
    2. stirrups,(used with a plural verb)close-fitting knit pants with such straps.
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Origin of stirrup

before 1000; Middle English; Old English stigrāp (stige ascent + rāp rope); cognate with German Stegreif
Related formsstir·rup·less, adjectivestir·rup·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for stirrup

clamp, splint, bracer, bearing, buttress, skid, truss, arm, staff, bolster, stanchion, rib, stave, prop, boom, peg, mainstay, grip, girder, rafter

Examples from the Web for stirrup

Historical Examples of stirrup

  • Halfway up the stretch Allis was riding stirrup to stirrup with her father.


    W. A. Fraser

  • The horse was saddled and bridled; the groom held the stirrup, and up I got.

  • He picked up the bridle-reins, caught the saddle-horn, and thrust his toe into the stirrup.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • "I'll hold on to you; and you must hold on to the stirrup and to the horse's mane," she said.

  • He led her to her horse and held the stirrup for her as she swung to the saddle.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

British Dictionary definitions for stirrup


  1. Also called: stirrup iron either of two metal loops on a riding saddle, with a flat footpiece through which a rider puts his foot for support. They are attached to the saddle by stirrup leathers
  2. a U-shaped support or clamp made of metal, wood, leather, etc
  3. nautical one of a set of ropes fastened to a yard at one end and having a thimble at the other through which a footrope is rove for support
  4. the usual US name for étrier
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Word Origin for stirrup

Old English stigrāp, from stīg path, step (related to Old High German stīgan to move up) + rāp rope; related to Old Norse stigreip, Old High German stegareif
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 stirrup


Old English stigrap, literally "climbing rope," from stige "a climbing, ascent" (from Proto-Germanic *stigaz "climbing;" see stair) + rap (see rope). Originally a looped rope as a help for mounting. Germanic cognates include Old Norse stigreip, Old High German stegareif, German stegreif. Surgical device used in childbirth, etc., so called from 1884. Stirrup-cup (1680s) was a cup of wine or other drink handed to a man already on horseback and setting out on a journey, hence "a parting glass" (cf. French le vin de l'etrier).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stirrup in Medicine


(stûrəp, stĭr-)
  1. stapes
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.