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[stair] /stɛər/
verb (used without object), stared, staring.
to gaze fixedly and intently, especially with the eyes wide open.
to be boldly or obtrusively conspicuous:
The bright modern painting stares out at you in the otherwise conservative gallery.
(of hair, feathers, etc.) to stand on end; bristle.
verb (used with object), stared, staring.
to stare at:
to stare a person up and down.
to effect or have a certain effect on by staring:
to stare one out of countenance.
a staring gaze; a fixed look with the eyes wide open:
The banker greeted him with a glassy stare.
Verb phrases
stare down, to cause to become uncomfortable by gazing steadily at one; overcome by staring:
A nonsmoker at the next table tried to stare me down.
stare one in the face, to be urgent or impending; confront:
The income-tax deadline is staring us in the face.
Origin of stare
before 900; Middle English staren, Old English starian; cognate with Dutch staren, German starren, Old Norse stara; akin to stark, starve
Related forms
starer, noun
staringly, adverb
1. See gaze. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stare
  • In a plane, all stare in the same direction and maybe watch a movie and a lot of ads.
  • We take them everywhere and stare at them constantly.
  • The freshmen, gawky in their fatigues and heavy boots, slouch in their seats and stare dutifully at the screen.
  • Instead of having docile eyes, he would look at the keepers and stare them down.
  • We stare in the face of the bureaucracy and shrug our shoulders in a collective act of defeat.
  • It was an amateurish affair, in which she appeared to stare throughout at the wrong camera.
  • In the blink of this horse's eye, the blue sky becomes a counterpoint to its stare.
  • They would think that the best way to resist the marshmallow is to stare right at it, to keep a close eye on the goal.
  • My first response is always to stop talking myself and stare intently at the culprits.
  • It's useful when describing people who respond to a question with a blank, slack-jawed stare.
British Dictionary definitions for stare


(intransitive) often foll by at. to look or gaze fixedly, often with hostility or rudeness
(intransitive) (of an animal's fur, bird's feathers, etc) to stand on end because of fear, ill health, etc
(intransitive) to stand out as obvious; glare
stare one in the face, to be glaringly obvious or imminent
the act or an instance of staring
Derived Forms
starer, noun
Word Origin
Old English starian; related to Old Norse stara, Old High German starēn to stare, Greek stereos stiff, Latin consternāre to confuse


(dialect) a starling
Word Origin
Old English stær
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 stare

Old English starian "to look fixedly at," from Proto-Germanic *star- "be rigid" (cf. Old Norse stara, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch staren, Old High German staren, German starren "to stare at;" German starren "to stiffen," starr "stiff;" Old Norse storr "proud;" Old High German storren "to stand out, project;" Gothic andstaurran "to be obstinate"), from PIE root *ster- "strong, firm, stiff, rigid" (cf. Lithuanian storas "thick," stregti "to become frozen;" Sanskrit sthirah "hard, firm;" Persian suturg "strong;" Old Church Slavonic staru "old;" cf. sterile and torpor). Not originally implying rudeness. Related: Stared; staring.


"starling," from Old English (see starling).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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