Open main menu
See also: Sturdy




Circa 1300, in sense “unruly, reckless, violent”, from Old French estourdi, 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.



sturdy (comparative sturdier, superlative sturdiest)

  1. Of firm build; stiff; stout; strong.
    a sturdy oak tree
    • Sir H. Wotton
      He was not of any delicate contexture; his limbs rather sturdy than 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.
    • Hudibras
      This must be done, and I would fain see / Mortal so sturdy as to gainsay.
    • Atterbury
      A sturdy, hardened sinner shall advance to the utmost pitch of impiety with less reluctance than he took the first steps.
  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 termsEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 sturdy” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2018.
  2. ^ OED