From Middle High German stegereif (“stirrup”), from Old High German stegareif (“stirrup”), from stegōn (“to ascend”, related with stīgan, whence modern steigen) + reif (“rope, ring”, whence modern Reif). Cognate with English stirrup.
The contemporary sense is from the idea of someone going to task “from the stirrup”, that is immediately after their arrival and without further arrangements. Speakers now often reanalyse the word as stehen (“to stand”) + greifen (“to grab”), that is “something nearby that one grabs wherever one is standing”. Hence the common pronunciation (see below) and the frequent misspelling Stehgreif.
- IPA(key): /ˈʃteːkˌʁaɪ̯f/ (etymological; prescriptive standard)
- IPA(key): /ˈʃteːˌɡʁaɪ̯f/ (more common in practice)
- (often with aus dem) improvisation, impromptu
- (obsolete) stirrup
- Synonym: Steigbügel
- Stegreif in Duden online