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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English stoor, stour (large, powerful), from Old English stōr (large, great, strong, violent), from Proto-Germanic *stōraz, *stōrijaz (great, big, strong), from Proto-Indo-European *stār-, *stōr- (big, thick, old). Akin to Scots stour (tall, large, great, stout), Eastern Frisian stor (great, many), Low German stur (large), Danish and Swedish stor (large, great), Icelandic stórr (large, tall), Polish stary (old, ancient) and probably Albanian shtoj (I add, increase). Compare also stoor, steer.

Alternative forms[edit]


stour (comparative more stour, superlative most stour)

  1. (Now chiefly dialectal) Tall; large; stout.
  2. (Now chiefly dialectal) Strong; powerful; hardy; robust; sturdy.
    O stronge lady stoor, what doest thou?--Chaucer.
  3. (Now chiefly dialectal) Bold; audacious.
  4. (Now chiefly dialectal) Rough in manner; stern; austere; ill-tempered.
  5. (Now chiefly dialectal, of a voice) Rough; hoarse; deep-toned; harsh.
  6. (Now chiefly dialectal, of land or cloth) Stiff; inflexible.
Derived terms[edit]


stour (comparative more stour, superlative most stour)

  1. (Now chiefly dialectal) Severely; strongly.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English stoure, stourre, from Old Norse staurr (a stake, pale), from Proto-Germanic *stauraz (pole, support), from Proto-Indo-European *stā- (to stand, place). Cognate with Icelandic staur (a stake, pole), Ancient Greek σταυρός (stauros, a stake, cross).


stour (plural stours)

  1. A stake.
  2. A round of a ladder.
  3. A stave in the side of a wagon.
  4. A large pole by which barges are propelled against the stream; a poy.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English stour, stor (conflict) from Anglo-Norman estur (conflict, struggle), from Old French estour, estor, estorme, estourmie, estormie (battle, assault, conflict, tumult), from Frankish *sturm (storm, commotion, battle), from Proto-Germanic *sturmaz (storm). Akin to Old High German sturm (battle, storm). More at storm.


stour (plural stours)

  1. (obsolete) An armed battle or conflict.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book V:
      Then there began a passyng harde stoure, for the Romaynes ever wexed ever bygger.
    • 1600, Edward Fairfax, The Jerusalem Delivered of Tasso, XII, xv:
      This pair, who past have many a dreadful stour,
      And proffer now to prove this venture stout,
      Alone to this attempt let them go forth,
      Alone than thousands of more price and worth.
  2. (obsolete) A time of struggle or stress.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.ii:
      Then gan she waile and weepe, to see that woefull stowre.
  3. (now dialectal) Tumult, commotion; confusion.
  4. (dialect) A blowing or deposit of dust.