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 which 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, marked by great nervousness, or by dullness and stupor.



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