stir-cra·​zy ˈstər-ˈkrā-zē How to pronounce stir-crazy (audio)
: distraught because of prolonged confinement

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Stir-crazy originated as a word to describe a prisoner who became distraught after prolonged confinement. Stir is a 19th-century slang word for "prison" that some word historians have suspected to be from Romani stariben, of the same meaning. But a convincing argument of that origin has yet been made. Today, stir-crazy describes any person who has become restless, agitated, or anxious from being or feeling entrapped in some place.

Examples of stir-crazy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web They were stir-crazy and impatient for the dance floor. Lucy McKeon, New York Times, 3 June 2024 That was one wet winter and most of us — including our dogs — were starting to go pretty stir-crazy with all the rain. Lisa Bloch, The Mercury News, 19 Mar. 2024 In 2021 and 2022, American consumers, stir-crazy from covid-19 lockdowns and armed with government relief checks, went on a spending spree, ordering furniture, sports equipment and other goods. Paul Wiseman and Mae Anderson The Associated Press,, 30 Jan. 2024 In 2021 and 2022, American consumers, stir-crazy from COVID-19 lockdowns and armed with government relief checks, went on a spending spree. Paul Wiseman and Mae Anderson, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Jan. 2024 If staying at home during your time off is bound to drive you stir-crazy, camping is a sure cure for cabin fever. Skye Sherman, Travel + Leisure, 28 Aug. 2023 So, after two years of living and working in the Train Station, Paulina was getting stir-crazy. The Foretold Team, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2023 Helping stir-crazy readers and offering a local alternative to certain omniretail monoliths? Peter Rubin, Longreads, 11 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stir-crazy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


stir entry 3

First Known Use

circa 1908, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stir-crazy was circa 1908


Dictionary Entries Near stir-crazy

Cite this Entry

“Stir-crazy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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