From Middle English sturdy, stourdy, stordy (“bold, valiant, strong, stern, fierce, rebellious”) (perhaps influenced by Middle English sture, stoure, stor (“strong, robust, harsh, stern, violent, fierce, sturdy”); see English stour), from Old French estourdi (“dazed”), form of estourdir, originally “to daze, to make tipsy (almost drunk)” (Modern French étourdir (“to daze, to make tipsy”)), from Vulgar Latin *exturdire. Latin etymology is unclear – presumably it is ex- + turdus (“thrush (bird)”), but how this should mean “daze” is unclear. A speculative theory is that thrushes eat leftover winery grapes and thus became drunk, but this meets with objections.
Disease in cows and sheep is by extension of sense of “daze”, while sense of “strongly built” is of late 14th century, and relationship to earlier sense is less clear, perhaps from sense of a firm strike (causing a daze) or a strong, violent person.
- Of firm build; stiff; stout; strong.
- a sturdy oak tree
- 1657, Henry Wotton, Characters of some Kings of England
- He was not of any delicate contexture; his limbs rather sturdy then dainty.
- Solid in structure or person.
- It was a sturdy building, able to withstand strong winds and cold weather.
- The dog was sturdy and could work all day without getting tired.
- (obsolete) Foolishly obstinate or resolute; stubborn.
- 1662, [Samuel Butler], “[The First Part of Hudibras]”, in Hudibras. The First and Second Parts. […], London: […] John Martyn and Henry Herringman, […], published 1678, OCLC 890163163; republished in A[lfred] R[ayney] Waller, editor, Hudibras: Written in the Time of the Late Wars, Cambridge: At the University Press, 1905, OCLC 963614346, page 2:
- This must be done, and I would fain see / Mortal so sturdy as to gainsay.
- October 28, 1705, Francis Atterbury, a sermon
- A sturdy, hardened sinner shall advance to the utmost pitch of impiety with less reluctance than he took the first steps.
- Resolute, in a good sense; or firm, unyielding quality.
- a man of sturdy piety or patriotism
- A disease in sheep and cattle, caused by a tapeworm and marked by great nervousness or by dullness and stupor.