verb (used with object)

to work upon, join, mend, or fasten with or as if with stitches; sew (often followed by together): to stitch together flour sacks to make curtains; a plan that was barely stitched together.
to ornament or embellish with stitches: to stitch a shirt with a monogram.

verb (used without object)

to make stitches, join together, or sew.


    in stitches, convulsed with laughter: The comedian had us in stitches all evening.

Origin of stitch

before 900; (noun) Middle English stiche, Old English stice a thrust, stab; cognate with German Stich prick; akin to stick2; (v.) Middle English stichen to stab, pierce, derivative of the noun
Related formsstitch·er, nounstitch·like, adjectivere·stitch, verb (used with object)un·stitch, verbun·stitched, adjectivewell-stitched, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for stitch

sew, fasten, suture, baste, join

Examples from the Web for stitch

Contemporary Examples of stitch

Historical Examples of stitch

  • "Now at last I am ready," she said, as she finished her first stitch.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • You reckermember my old sayin', don't you, 'a stitch in time saves nine'?

  • He measured these round his waist, and then began to stitch them together, slowly and laboriously.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • May stopped in the middle of a stitch, and stared at him with something akin to dismay.

    People of Position

    Stanley Portal Hyatt

  • I had a stitch in my side, and both Harold's stockings had come down.

    The Golden Age

    Kenneth Grahame

British Dictionary definitions for stitch



a link made by drawing a thread through material by means of a needle
a loop of yarn formed around an implement used in knitting, crocheting, etc
a particular method of stitching or shape of stitch
a sharp spasmodic pain in the side resulting from running or exercising
(usually used with a negative) informal the least fragment of clothinghe wasn't wearing a stitch
agriculture the ridge between two furrows
drop a stitch to allow a loop of wool to fall off a knitting needle accidentally while knitting
in stitches informal laughing uncontrollably


(tr) to sew, fasten, etc, with stitches
(intr) to be engaged in sewing
(tr) to bind together (the leaves of a book, pamphlet, etc) with wire staples or thread

noun, verb

an informal word for suture (def. 1b), suture (def. 6)
See also stitch up
Derived Formsstitcher, noun

Word Origin for stitch

Old English stice sting; related to Old Frisian steke, Old High German stih, Gothic stiks, Old Norse tikta sharp
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 stitch

Old English stice "a prick, puncture," from Proto-Germanic *stikiz, from the root of stick (v.). The sense of "sudden, stabbing pain in the side" was in late Old English. Senses in sewing and shoemaking first recorded late 13c.; meaning "bit of clothing one is (or isn't) wearing" is from c.1500. Meaning "a stroke of work" (of any kind) is attested from 1580s. Surgical sense first recorded 1520s. Sense of "amusing person or thing" is 1968, from notion of laughing so much one gets stitches of pain (cf. verbal expression to have (someone) in stitches, 1935).


early 13c., "to stab, pierce," also "to fasten or adorn with stitches;" see stitch (n.). Related: Stitched; stitching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stitch in Medicine




A sudden sharp pain, especially in the side.
A single suture.


To suture.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with stitch


In addition to the idiom beginning with stitch

  • stitch in time, a

also see:

  • in stitches
  • without a stitch on
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.