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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The actor should not stare straight into the faces of the audience, but look between them.

    The N Plays of Japan Arthur Waley
  • She turned to stare at the Inspector with eyes that were very clear and very hard.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • She gave him the letter, and a fee that made him stare, and was gone.

    A Changed Heart May Agnes Fleming
  • I thought he must be crazed by over-study, and I could only sit and stare at him, open-mouthed.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • Spare us the so-called friends who come and gape and stare and go!

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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