"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[stair] /stɛər/
one of a flight or series of steps for going from one level to another, as in a building.
stairs, such steps collectively, especially as forming a flight or a series of flights:
I was so excited I ran all the way up the stairs.
a series or flight of steps; stairway:
a winding stair.
Origin of stair
before 1000; Middle English stey(e)r, Old English stǣger; cognate with Dutch, Low German steiger landing; akin to sty1
Related forms
stairless, adjective
stairlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stair
  • On the west side of the building, elevator and stair landings overlook a gallery.
  • The bank was bombed and the stair down to the vault is filled with rubble.
  • Hogan showed me one: a human stick figure and three stair steps carefully pecked into a pink boulder.
  • For two years, patients continually evaluated their knee pain, while doctors examined their walking and stair-climbing abilities.
  • The house has so many floors that each domestic act necessitates a stair climb.
  • The mesa top of the crater's center is higher than the stair-stepped rings surrounding it.
  • It was sometimes his way-the master's, that is-to write his orders on a sheet of paper and throw it on the stair.
  • The descent to it was through a low door and down a steep, narrow stair.
  • Sadly echoed her step on the stair and the floor of her chamber.
  • Visitors are allowed to climb original stair cases and wander the underground warrens of this historic fort.
British Dictionary definitions for stair


one of a flight of stairs
a series of steps: a narrow stair
See also stairs
Word Origin
Old English stæger; related to stīg narrow path, stīgan to ascend, descend, Old Norse steigurligr upright, Middle Dutch steiger ladder
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
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Word Origin and History for stair

Old English stæger "flight of steps," also "a single step," from Proto-Germanic *staigri (cf. Old Norse and Old Frisian stiga, Middle Dutch stighen, Old High German stigan, German steigen, Gothic steigan "to go up, ascend;" Old English stigan "to climb, go;" German Steig "path," Old English stig "narrow path"), from PIE *steigh- "go, rise, stride, step, walk" (cf. Greek steikhein "to go, march in order," stikhos "row, line, rank, verse;" Sanskrit stighnoti "mounts, rises, steps;" Old Church Slavonic stignati "to overtake," stigna "place;" Lithuanian staiga "suddenly;" Old Irish tiagaim "I walk;" Welsh taith "going, walk, way").

Originally also a collective plural; stairs developed by late 14c. OED says stair still is ordinary in Scotland where flight of stairs would be used elsewhere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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