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.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈstɜːdi/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈstɜrdi/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)di
- 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.
- April 5 2022, Tina Brown, “How Princess Diana’s Dance With the Media Impacted William and Harry”, in Vanity Fair:
- (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: University Press, 1905, OCLC 963614346, page 2:
- This must be done, and I would fain see / Mortal so sturdy as to gainsay.
- 1705 November 8 (Gregorian calendar), Francis Atterbury, “A Standing Revelation, the Best Means of Conviction. A Sermon Preach’d before Her Majesty, at St. James’s Chapel, on Sunday, October 28. 1705, being the Festival of St. Simon and St. Jude.”, in Fourteen Sermons Preach’d on Several Occasions. […], London: […] E. P. [Edmund Parker?] for Jonah Bowyer, […], published 1708, OCLC 1015443083, page 339:
- [A] ſturdy, hardned Sinner ſhall advance to the utmoſt pitch of Impiety with leſs difficulty, leſs reluctance of Mind, than perhaps he took the firſt ſteps in Wickedneſs, whilſt his Conſcience was yet Vigilant and Tender.
- Resolute, in a good sense; or firm, unyielding quality.
- a man of sturdy piety or patriotism
- 1867, “A YOLA ZONG”, in SONGS, ETC. IN THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY, number 7:
- Treblere an sturdy Cournug.
- Treblere and sturdy Cournug.
- Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 86