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See also: Stead




  • enPR: stěd, IPA(key): /stɛd/
  • (file)
    Rhymes: -ɛd

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English sted, stede, from Old English stede, from Proto-Germanic *stadiz, from Proto-Indo-European *stéh₂tis. Cognate with German Stadt, Gothic 𐍃𐍄𐌰𐌸𐍃 (staþs, place), Danish and Swedish stad, Scots steid, Dutch stad, Yiddish שטאָט(shtot). Doublet of stasis.


stead (plural steads)

  1. (obsolete) A place, or spot, in general. [10th-16th c.]
  2. (obsolete) A place where a person normally rests; a seat. [10th-18thc.]
    • 1633, P. Fletcher, Purple Island:
      There now the hart, fearlesse of greyhound, feeds, / And loving pelican in safety breeds; / There shrieking satyres fill the people's emptie steads.
  3. (obsolete) A specific place or point on a body or other surface. [11th-15thc.]
  4. (obsolete) An inhabited place; a settlement, city, town etc. [13th-16thc.]
  5. (obsolete) An estate, a property with its grounds; a farm. [14th-19thc.]
    • 1889, H. Rider Haggard, Allan's Wife:
      But of course I could not do this by myself, so I took a Hottentot—a very clever man when he was not drunk—who lived on the stead, into my confidence.
  6. (obsolete) The frame on which a bed is laid; a bedstead. [15th-19thc.]
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Dryden
      The genial bed / Sallow the feet, the borders, and the stead.
  7. (in phrases, now literary) The position or function (of someone or something), as taken on by a successor. [from 15thc.]
    • 1818, Jane Austen, Persuasion:
      She was so wretched and so vehement, complained so much of injustice in being expected to go away instead of Anne; Anne, who was nothing to Louisa, while she was her sister, and had the best right to stay in Henrietta's stead!
    • 1961, Muriel Saint Clare Byrne, Elizabethan Life in Town and Country, page 285:
      His nurse had told him all about changelings, and how the little people would always try to steal a beautiful human child out of its cradle and put in its stead one of their own ailing, puking brats []
    • 2011, "Kin selection", The Economist, 31 March:
      Had Daniel Ortega not got himself illegally on to this year’s ballot to seek a third term, his wife might have run in his stead.
  8. Figuratively, an emotional or circumstantial "place" having specified advantages, qualities etc. (now only in phrases). [from 15thc.]
    • 2010, Dan van der Vat, The Guardian, 19 September:
      Though small and delicate-looking, she gave an impression of intense earnestness and latent toughness, qualities that stood her in good stead when she dared to challenge the most intrusive communist society in eastern Europe.
Derived termsEdit


stead (third-person singular simple present steads, present participle steading, simple past and past participle steaded)

  1. To help; to support; to benefit; to assist.
    • 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act I Scene 3
      May you stead me? will you pleasure me? shall I know your answer?
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 1 scene 2
      Some food we had and some fresh water that / A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo, / Out of his charity,—who being then appointed / Master of this design,—did give us, with / Rich garments, linens, stuffs, and necessaries, / Which since have steaded much: [...]
  2. To fill place of.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Clipping of steady.


stead (plural steads)

  1. (Singapore, colloquial) One's partner in a romantic relationship.
    • 1997 May 27, Ordinary People, soc.culture.singapore, Usenet[1]:
      C'mon lah!! Wake up.. Y R U stupid girls so CHEAP!! Imagine a baby making out with an adult! Want to have stead,.. Go find 1 16yr old rich kid lah!! At for let those men take advantage!! Remember Men CANNOT be Trusted!! Boys maybe can.
    • 1998 April 17, L.Angel, soc.culture.singapore, Usenet[2]:
      I prefer to know a guy better as a friend first before even considering him as a potential stead.
    • 1999 February 13, L.Angel, soc.culture.singapore, Usenet[3]:
      One of the best dates I had was with his person who did attempt to impress me with expensive gifts or flowers. My date did asked though but I said no because for somebody who's not my stead and I dun feel there was a need to.
    • 2004 January 30, Fann Low, soc.culture.singapore, Usenet[4]:
      after 2 week or so I decide to tell her I like her and asked her to be my stead. But she tell me she had another guy. So we remain as friend.