1. A naturally abundant nutrient carbohydrate, (C6H10O5)n, found chiefly in the seeds, fruits, tubers, roots, and stem pith of plants, notably in corn, potatoes, wheat, and rice, and varying widely in appearance according to source but commonly prepared as a white amorphous tasteless powder.
2. Any of various substances, such as natural starch, used to stiffen cloth, as in laundering.
3. starches Foods having a high content of starch, as rice, breads, and potatoes.
a. Stiff behavior: "Dobbs, the butler ... isn't as stiff as he used to be; Ann, my brother's new wife, has loosened up his starch a bit" (Jennifer St. Giles).
b. Vigor; mettle: "Business travel can take the starch out of the most self-assured corporate titan" (Lisa Faye Kaplan).
tr.v. starched, starch·ing, starch·es
To stiffen with starch.
[Middle English starche, substance used to stiffen cloth (sense uncertain), from sterchen, to stiffen, from Old English *stercan; see ster-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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