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See also: Sturdy



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.[1] A speculative theory is that thrushes eat leftover winery grapes and thus became drunk, but this meets with objections.[2]

Disease in cows and sheep is by extension of sense of “daze”, while sense of “strongly built” is of late 14th century,[1] and relationship to earlier sense is less clear, perhaps from sense of a firm strike (causing a daze) or a strong, violent person.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈstɜːdi/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈstɜrdi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(r)di


sturdy (comparative sturdier, superlative sturdiest)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. (obsolete) Foolishly obstinate or resolute; stubborn.
  4. Resolute, in a good sense; or firm, unyielding quality.
    a man of sturdy piety or patriotism




sturdy (uncountable)

  1. A disease in sheep and cattle, caused by a tapeworm and marked by great nervousness or by dullness and stupor.


Derived terms[edit]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Douglas Harper (2001–2021) , “sturdy”, in Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ OED