Word Origin & History
c.1300, "story of a building, raised floor for exhibitions," from O.Fr. estage "a story or floor of a building, stage for performance," from V.L. *staticum "a place for standing," from L. statum, pp. of stare "to stand" (see stet
). Meaning "platform for presentation of a play"
is attested from 1548; generalized for "profession of an actor" from 1589. Sense of "period of development or time in life" first recorded 1608, probably from M.E. sense of "degree or step on the 'ladder' of virtue, 'wheel' of fortune, etc.," in parable illustrations and morality plays. The verb meaning "to put (a play) on the stage" first recorded 1879; general sense of "to mount" (a comeback, etc.) is attested from 1924. Stage-coach is 1658, from the sense of "division of a journey without stopping for rest" (1603). Stage mother is from 1919. Stage-Door Johnny "young man who frequents stage doors seeking the company of actresses, chorus girls, etc." is attested from 1912. Stage-struck is from 1813; earlier stage-smitten (1682). Stage-whisper first attested 1865.