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From Middle English stirop, stirope, from Old English stiġrāp (stirrup), a compound of stiġe ("ascent, descent, a going up or down"; related to stīġan (to climb)) and rāp (rope), equivalent to sty +‎ rope. Cognate with Dutch stegereep, stegelreep (stirrup), Old Saxon stigerēp (stirrup), Middle High German stereip, stegreif ("stirrup"; > German Stegreif (improvisation)), Icelandic stigreip (stirrup).



stirrup (plural stirrups)

  1. (equestrianism) A ring or hoop suspended by a rope or strap from the saddle, for a horseman's foot while mounting or riding.
  2. (by extension) Any piece shaped like the stirrup of a saddle, used as a support, clamp, etc.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, in The Celebrity:
      Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. [] A silver snaffle on a heavy leather watch guard which connected the pockets of his corduroy waistcoat, together with a huge gold stirrup in his Ascot tie, sufficiently proclaimed his tastes.
    1. (climbing) A portable, flexible ladder-like device used in climbing.
      Synonyms: aider, étrier
  3. (anatomy) A stapes.
  4. (nautical) A rope secured to a yard, with a thimble in its lower end for supporting a footrope.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Totten to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]



stirrup (not comparable)

  1. Referring to women's pants, a form of trousers commonly worn by women that includes a strap beneath the arch of the foot.

Further reading[edit]