Word Origin & History
"guide the course of a vehicle," O.E. steran (Mercian), stieran (W.Saxon), from P.Gmc. *steurijanan (cf. O.N. styra, O.Fris. stiora, Du. sturen, O.H.G. stiuren, Ger. steuern "to steer," Goth. stiurjan "to establish, assert"), related to *steuro "rudder" (cf. O.E. steor "helm, rudder," Ger. Steuer and
first element in starboard
), from PIE *steu-ro- (cf. Gk. stauros "stake, pole"), from base *sta- "to stand" (see stet
). The notion is of a stiff, upright pillar or post used in steering. To steer clear of in the fig. sense of "to avoid completely" is recorded from 1723. Steerage (1399) was the steering apparatus of a ship before the introduction of the deck wheel; meaning "section of a ship with the cheapest accommodations" first recorded 1804. Steering committee in the U.S. political sense is recorded from 1887.
"young ox," O.E. steor "bullock," from P.Gmc. *steuraz (cf. O.S. stior, O.N. stjorr, Swed. tjur, Dan. tyr, M.Du., Du., Ger. stier, Goth. stiur "bull"), perhaps from PIE *steu-ro-, a base denoting "strength, sturdiness" (see taurus