"to remain," 1440, from M.Fr. estai-, stem of ester "to stay or stand," from O.Fr., from L. stare "to stand" (cf. It. stare, Sp. estar "to stand, to be"), from PIE base *sta- "to stand" (see stet
). Originally "come to a halt;" sense of "remain" is first recorded 1575. Noun
senses of "appliance for stopping," "period of remaining in a place," and (judicial) "suspension of proceeding" all developed 1525-1550. Stay-at-home (adj.) is from 1806. Stay put is first recorded 1843, Amer.Eng. Phrase stay the course is originally (1885) in ref. to horses holding out till the end of a race.
"support, prop, brace," c.1515, from M.Fr. estaie "piece of wood used as a support," perhaps from Frank. *staka "support," from P.Gmc. *stagaz (cf. M.Du. stake "stick," O.E. steli "steel" stæg "rope used to support a mast"), from PIE *stak- (see stay
(n.2)). If not, then
from the root of stay
(v.). Stays "laced underbodice" is attested from 1608.
"strong rope which supports a ship's mast," from O.E. stæg, from P.Gmc. *stagan (cf. Du. stag, Low Ger. stach, Ger. Stag, O.N. stag), from PIE *stak-, ult. an extended form of base *sta- "to stand" (see stet
). The verb meaning "secure or steady with stays" is first recorded 1627.