sterling

noun
ster·​ling | \ ˈstər-liŋ How to pronounce sterling (audio) \

Definition of sterling

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : British money
2 : sterling silver or articles of it

sterling

adjective

Definition of sterling (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or calculated in terms of British sterling
b : payable in sterling
2a of silver : having a fixed standard of purity usually defined legally as represented by an alloy of 925 parts of silver with 75 parts of copper
b : made of sterling silver
3 : conforming to the highest standard sterling character a sterling record of achievement

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Other Words from sterling

Adjective

sterlingly adverb
sterlingness noun

Examples of sterling in a Sentence

Noun

a drop in the value of sterling

Adjective

a sterling example of democracy at work credited the win to the pitcher's sterling performance on the mound
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As is also his wont, Gold has assembled a sterling cast of veterans and newcomers. Adam Green, Vogue, "Glenda Jackson and Ruth Wilson on Bringing a Modern King Lear to Broadway," 19 Mar. 2019 Most of her jewelry is made from gold vermeil (a sterling silver base is plated with a thick layer of real gold), which keeps prices at an affordable $50 to $200 range. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Top 5 Favorite Jewelry Brands of All Time," 2 Jan. 2019 High, but he was known primarily for his sterling run as the school’s starting quarterback. Chris Johnson, SI.com, "Kyler Murray's Baseball and Football Careers Converge for an Intriguing Summer at Oklahoma," 1 June 2018 Ironically, the continuing slide of sterling relative to other currencies could possibly have helped things—thanks to a declining exchange rate, the project only needed $31 million this week instead of $33 million back in October. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bad news for the 1,000mph car as Bloodhound SSC is shut down," 11 Dec. 2018 The soft styling was reminiscent of a modern-day Disney princess, and offered a further dousing of present-tense by a pressing of gaze-encasing sterling. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Emma Stone Has a Disney Princess Moment—And It Comes Down to This Tiny Detail," 19 Nov. 2018 Short positions on the sterling increased during the week to July 10 from the previous seven days, according to CFTC data. Olga Cotaga, WSJ, "Pound Falls and Remains Vulnerable to Brexit Uncertainty," 19 July 2018 Many people think sterling silver flatware is not dishwasher-safe. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Tabletop Accessories," 11 Feb. 2019 However, a number of leading brands of silver, such as Puiforcat, Vienna Silver, Christofle and [Georg Jensen], clearly state that their sterling flatware can be washed in the dishwasher. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Tabletop Accessories," 11 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There have been sterling silver protractors, and tin cans, and even a greenhouse, as well as bone china to-go coffee cups in Tiffany blue. Reed Krakoff, Town & Country, "Tiffany & Co. Wants to Change the Rules of How to Wear a Diamond," 27 Nov. 2018 In particular, the parts set in the institution, the focus on daily existence in the place, the clamor, the tensions, the character of the guards, the favors available for a little bribery, all of it a sterling evocation of prison life. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘Escape at Dannemora’ Review: Prison Heartbreak," 15 Nov. 2018 To oversee its security, the DNC hired Raffi Krikorian and Bob Lord, two security officers with sterling Silicon Valley credentials. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 Valedictorian of her high school class and daughter of Iranian immigrants, Etami took several Advanced Placement classes and compiled a sterling grade-point average. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "A shake-up in elite admissions: U-Chicago drops SAT/ACT testing requirement," 14 June 2018 An ugly beef with the rapper Pusha-T bruised his ego and damaged his sterling public reputation. Andy Hutchins, Time, "Scorpion Finds Drake Struggling to Keep It All Together," 29 June 2018 The Falcon Heavy booster gives SpaceX a powerful new tool in its competition with United Launch Alliance, which has a sterling reliability record but generally higher prices. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Air Force certifies Falcon Heavy, orders satellite launch for 2020," 21 June 2018 The Game is Now cost 54 pounds sterling and can be purchased at the escape room’s official website. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Official Sherlock escape room to open in London this fall," 5 June 2018 For reasons that have almost nothing to do with her leadership abilities and other sterling qualities, a President Clinton would have made a great 2018 midterm for her party extremely unlikely, and a debilitating defeat quite possible. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "What the Midterms Would Look Like If Clinton Had Won," 1 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sterling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sterling

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sterling

Noun

Middle English, silver penny, probably from Old English *steorling, from Old English steorra star + -ling entry 1 — more at star

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Statistics for sterling

Last Updated

6 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sterling

The first known use of sterling was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sterling

sterling

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sterling

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: silver that is 92 percent pure
: British money

sterling

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sterling (Entry 2 of 2)

: made of silver that is 92 percent pure
: very good

sterling

noun
ster·​ling | \ ˈstər-liŋ How to pronounce sterling (audio) \

Kids Definition of sterling

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : British money
2 : sterling silver : articles made from sterling silver

sterling

adjective

Kids Definition of sterling (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to British sterling
2 : being or made of a specific alloy that is mostly silver with a little copper sterling silver
3 : excellent a sterling example

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Comments on sterling

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