Word of the Day: stir

Word of the Day
July 8, 2016
stir (noun, verb)
/stɝ/   sound icon
 
A woman stirring her coffee
To stir means 'to mix with a constant, circular movement,' often with a spoon or stick. It also means 'to move in an irregular way' or 'to move very slightly.' Informally, it means 'to move around actively.' It also means 'to excite, affect or instigate someone or something.' As a noun, a stir is the movement made when stirring, and it is also 'a state of commotion and excitement' or 'an impulse or feeling.'

 

Example sentences
 
You need to stir risotto while it cooks to get the right consistency.
The leaves stirred in the breeze.
Jane stirred in her sleep, but didn't wake up.
I got up, as I could hear sounds of people awake and stirring downstairs.
The politician's speech stirred the passions of the crowd.
Give the soup a stir, would you?
There was quite a stir around the office when we heard the news about the new CEO.
When I heard his voice, I felt a stir of hope.

 

Multi-word forms
 
stir something up: to start or instigate something. Example: "The speaker got the crowd so angry that he stirred up a riot."
 
Did you know?
 
In UK English, stir is often used informally, without an object, to mean that someone is trying to cause trouble, usually by saying things designed to make other people suspicious of each other. Example: "You can't trust Tim; he's always stirring."
 
Other forms
 
stirrer (noun), stirrable (adjective)
 
Origin
 
Stir has been around in English since before the year 900. Its roots can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European stem (s)twer-, meaning to turn or whirl (the word whirl also came from this stem, as did the word storm). The verb appears in Old English as styrian, and later in Middle English as stiren, before taking the form we know today. The noun comes from the verb. It is related to the Old Norse word styrr, meaning disturbance, and the German verb stören, meaning to disturb.
 
 
 
 
 
Stir in other languages
 
 
 
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