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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 down
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As Mary stepped from the tent her eyes fell upon a pair of lifeless eyes that seemed to stare down upon her.

    A Ticket to Adventure Roy J. Snell
  • Nora went to the window to stare down toward the Keith terrace.

    Death of a Spaceman Walter M. Miller
  • And he was left to stare down the road after the swift flying figure.

    Man and Maid E. (Edith) Nesbit
  • The stranger in tweeds turned to stare down at him, surprised.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • He has large eyes, and they stare down at her haggardly, as he stands facing her in the light.

    Six Women Victoria Cross
  • Involuntarily the girls stopped to stare down at it in surprise.

    The Mystery of Carlitos Helen Randolph
  • We had gone but a short distance into the "city" when our ancient guide paused, turning to stare down a deserted passage.

    The Death-Traps of FX-31 Sewell Peaslee Wright
  • She sprang to her feet and whirled about to stare down the trail.

    Green Eyes Roy J. Snell
British Dictionary definitions for stare down


(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 down



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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Idioms and Phrases with stare down

stare down

Cause someone to waver or give in by or as if by being stared at. For example, Insisting on a better room, he stared down the manager until he got it. This expression alludes to staring at someone without being the first to blink or lower one's gaze. [ Mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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