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Borrowed from Scots stalwart under the influence of Walter Scott, displacing earlier stalworth, wherewith it forms a doublet. From Middle English stal-worth (physically strong, hardy, robust; brave, courageous), from Old English stǣlwierþe (able to stand in good stead, serviceable),[1] probably from staþol (establishment; foundation) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *steh₂- (to stand (up))) or stǣl (place; condition, stead) + -wierþe (suffix meaning ‘able to, capable of’) (probably ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wert- (to rotate, turn)).



stalwart (comparative more stalwart, superlative most stalwart)

  1. Firmly or solidly built.
  2. Courageous.
    • 1832 October, “Art II.— History of the Italian Language and Dialects. Saggi di Prose e Poesie de’ più celebri Scrittori d’ogni Secolo. VI. vol. 8vo. (Selected by L. Nardini and S. Buonaiuti.) In Londra. 1798.”, in The North American Review, volume XXXV, number LXXVII, Boston, Mass.: Gray and Bowen, [], OCLC 642444475, pages 301–302:
      Many other learned men of the age followed him [Romolo Amaseo] to the field, and contended with much zeal for the cause of the Latin; some even went so far as to wish the Italian completely banished entirely from the world. But stalwart champions were not wanting on the other side; and, to be brief, the impulse of public opinion soon swept away all opposition, and the popular cause was triumphant.
    • 1842, E[dward] Howard, chapter XXXI, in Sir Henry Morgan, the Buccaneer, Paris: Baudry's European Library, [] and Stassin and Xavier, [], OCLC 602504227, page 241:
      Now Tomlins always acted as Morgan's major domo in tent or quarters, and was also a stalwart hand either against ox, sheep, or enemy.
  3. Determined; staunch.



Derived terms[edit]



stalwart (plural stalwarts)

  1. One who has a strong build.
  2. One who firmly supports a cause.
    • 1920?, [Lala] Lajpat Rai, “A Fight for Crumbs”, in The Call to Young India, Madras, Tamil Nadu, India: S. Ganesan & Co., OCLC 38143680, pages 68–69:
      Too much authority, blind authority, mere authority, whether that of the Prince or the priest, of the Raja or the Nabob, of the oligarch or the official, of the wealty and the prosperous is the bane of Indian life, yet these stalwarts of reform always take shelter behind big names.
    • 1954 August 17, Thomas Leonard Hayman, “Financial Statement”, in New Zealand Parliamentary Debates: Fifth Session, Thirtieth Parliament: House of Representatives, volume 304 (Comprising the Period from 6 August to 1 October 1954), Wellington, N.Z.: By authority; R. E. Owen, government printer, published 1955, OCLC 191255532, page 1200:
      But I am sure there must be a great many Socialists who would fairly turn in their graves if they knew how their successors in the Labour Party were "ratting" on the policy laid down by the old stalwarts.
  3. One who is dependable.
    • 2017 October 14, Paul Doyle, “Mauricio Pellegrino yet to find attacking solution for stuttering Southampton: Nothing so far this season suggests the Argentinian will be more successful than Claude Puel in finding the answer to the club’s continuing lack of firepower”, in The Guardian[1], London, archived from the original on 10 November 2017:
      Other erstwhile stalwarts are also wavering. Southampton had two of the best full-backs in the league last season but Ryan Bertrand has been below par this season and Cédric Soares made an uncharacteristic lapse that led to Stoke's winning goal in Southampton's last outing.
    • 2021 December 2, Margaret Fuhrer, “Mothers of Reinvention: The Lab Pivots as Studios Close”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      In August, the Los Angeles-area stalwart the Lab also closed its dance space, a 12,000-square-foot location in West Covina.



  1. ^ stal-worth, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 13 March 2018.

Further reading[edit]


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English stalwarde, stelewurthe, from Old English stǣlwierþe (serviceable, able to stand in good stead). Akin to English stalworth.


stalwart (comparative mair stalwart, superlative maist stalwart)

  1. physically strong, powerful, stour; exhibiting great stamina
  2. valiant, brave; resolute, stout


  • English: stalwart