From Middle English starche (noun), from *starche, sterch (“stiff”, adj), an assibilated form of Middle English stark, sterk (“strong; stiff”), from Old English stearc (“stark; strong; rough”). Compare Middle High German sterke, German Stärke. More at stark.
- (uncountable) A widely diffused vegetable substance found especially in seeds, bulbs, and tubers, and extracted (as from potatoes, corn, rice, etc.) as a white, glistening, granular or powdery substance, without taste or smell, and giving a very peculiar creaking sound when rubbed between the fingers. It is used as a food, in the production of commercial grape sugar, for stiffening linen in laundries, in making paste, etc.
- (nutrition, countable) Carbohydrates, as with grain and potato based foods.
- (uncountable) A stiff, formal manner; formality.
- 1712 March 1, Joseph Addison, “TUESDAY, February 19, 1711–1712 [Julian calendar]”, in The Spectator, number 305; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, […], volume IV, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, OCLC 191120697:
- this Professor is to give the society their stiffening, and infuse into their manners that beautiful political starch, which may qualify them for Levées, Conferences, Visits
- (countable) Any of various starch-like substances used as a laundry stiffener
- To apply or treat with laundry starch, to create a hard, smooth surface.
- She starched her blouses.
starch (not comparable)
- Umberto Patuzzi, ed., (2013) Ünsarne Börtar, Luserna: Comitato unitario delle linguistiche storiche germaniche in Italia / Einheitskomitee der historischen deutschen Sprachinseln in Italien