Intermediate+ Word of the Day: stout

stout (noun, adjective) /staʊt/ LISTEN

Do you know which of these is a stout?

You probably know the noun meaning of stout, a dark and sweet beer. As an adjective, stout means ‘heavily built,’ ‘thickset’ or ‘sturdy.’ When applied to opinions, character traits, or actions it can mean ‘firm, stubborn’ and, when applied to objects, ‘heavy, solid.’ It can also mean ‘brave, courageous’ or ‘forceful, vigorous.’

Example sentences

  • Tania asked the landlord for a pint of stout.
  • Lauren has started to grow a little stout now that she's getting older.
  • Robin was riding a stout little pony.
  • The strikers put up a stout resistance.
  • The hiker carried a stout stick to help her across the more rugged terrain.
  • My friends were all stout fellows and I was glad to have them with me as I faced my enemy.
  • A stout wind sent the yacht skimming across the bay.

Words often used with stout

stout heart: bravery; you say someone has a stout heart when you mean they are brave, and that they have done something with a stout heart when you mean they did it bravely. Example: “Julie has had her share of troubles, but she has faced them all with a stout heart.”

In pop culture

If someone has a stout heart, you can also say they are stout-hearted. You can listen to the song “Stout-Hearted Men” from the 1940 musical New Moon here:

Additional information

In US English, stout can also be used as a noun to mean a heavily built person and, by extension, a clothing size for a heavily built person, although these meanings are now rare.

Did you know?

As we mentioned above, stout is a type of beer. If you’d like to know more about different types of beer, then you can learn a lot from this video:

Other forms

stoutly (adverb), stoutness (noun)

Origin

Stout, as an adjective meaning ‘proud, strong or brave,’ dates back to around the year 1300. It comes from the Old French estout (proud, fierce, brave), which evolved from estolt (strong). It came into French from the West Germanic root stult- (proud, stately or strutting), and can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European root stel- (to put or stand). It is related to the Middle Low German stolt (stately or proud) and the German stolz (proud, haughty, arrogant or stately). It meaning expanded to describe someone with a strong body, or who was powerfully built, in the 14th century, and this meaning has been figuratively used to describe someone large, fat or bulky since the early 19th century. The noun, usually used now for a type of strong beer, comes from the adjective, and dates back to the mid-17th century.

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