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stir 1 (stûr)
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v. stirred, stir·ring, stirs
v.tr.
1.
a. To pass an implement through (a liquid, for example), usually in circular motions, so as to mix or cool the contents: stirred the soup before tasting it.
b. To use an implement to move or rearrange the fuel in (a fire) to increase light or heat.
c. To add or mix in (an ingredient, for example) into a liquid or mixture by moving an implement: stirred a cup of sugar into the cake batter.
d. To mix together the ingredients of (a liquid, for example) before cooking or use by moving an implement: stirred up some popover batter; stirred the paint.
e. To move or pass (an implement) through a liquid in order to mix or cool the contents: stirred her spoon in her coffee.
2. To cause to move or shift, especially slightly or with irregular motion: A breeze stirred the branches.
3.
a. To cause to become active; bestir: stirred themselves to fix breakfast.
b. To excite strong feelings in or rouse, as from indifference: The speaker stirred us to volunteer at the homeless shelter. See Synonyms at provoke.
c. To provoke deliberately; incite. Often used with up: stir up trouble.
v.intr.
1. To change position slightly: The leaves were stirring in the breeze.
2.
a. To start to move, especially in rising from sleep: The house was quiet, as no one had stirred yet.
b. To move about actively or busily: People were stirring about the office.
c. To move away from a customary or usual place or position: instructed the guards not to stir from their posts.
3.
a. To stir or mix a liquid or mixture: stood at the counter stirring.
b. To be capable of being stirred: a mixture that stirs easily.
4. To happen or begin: when the civil rights movement first stirred.
5. To be roused or affected by strong feelings: "His wrath so stirred within him, that he could have struck him dead" (Charles Dickens).
n.
1. A stirring, mixing, or poking movement: gave the fire a stir.
2. A slight movement: slept soundly and barely made a stir.
3. An excited reaction or commotion: The news caused quite a stir in our family.

[Middle English stiren, from Old English styrian, to excite, agitate.]

stirrer n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
stir  2 (stûr)
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n.
Slang
Prison.

[Short for Romani stariben, stirapen : star, variant of astar, to seize, causative of ast, to remain, stop (probably akin to Prakrit atthaï, he sits, from earlier Middle Indic *āsthāti, he remains, from Sanskrit ātihati , he stands by, remains on : ā-, near, to, at + tiati, sthā-, he stands; see sthā- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots) + Romani -ben, n. suff.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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