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[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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We sprang up a stair, and went all over the house, to find no one.

    Lilith George MacDonald
  • Probably then the stair and the room below had been an arrangement for the musicians.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • She went down the stair into the well, winding out of sight, and as long as I could see her, her eyes were watching mine.

  • Going higher yet, till she all but reached the roof, the stair brought her to a door.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • stair, who expected as much, took also his measures, which were within an inch of succeeding; for this is what happened.

  • The major took him again, and carried him up the stair—so thin and light was he.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • They had found a little door at the foot of the stair, which opened easily.

    The Tapestry Room Mrs. Molesworth
  • And the professor turned toward the stair, but paused at the bottom step.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
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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