stir

1 of 3

verb

stirred; stirring

transitive verb

1
a
: to cause an especially slight movement or change of position of
tied so tightly he could scarcely stir a finger
b
: to disturb the quiet of : agitate
often used with up
the bear stirred up the bees
2
a
: to disturb the relative position of the particles or parts of especially by a continued circular movement
stirred the paint with a paddle
stir the fire
often used with up
stirred up mud from the lake bottom
b
: to mix by or as if by stirring
stir one's coffee
often used with in
stir in the spices
3
4
: to bring into notice or debate : raise
often used with up
stir up sensitive issues
5
a
: to rouse to activity : evoke strong feelings in
music that stirs the emotions
b
: to call forth (something, such as a memory) : evoke
stir happy remembrances
c
: provoke
stir a storm of controversy
often used with up
stir up trouble

intransitive verb

1
a
: to make a slight movement
The leaves were barely stirring.
b
: to begin to move (as in rousing)
She heard him stirring in bed.
c
: to shift to another location : budge
haven't stirred since I arrived
2
: to begin to be active
The factory stirred to life.
3
: to be active or busy
Not a creature was stirringClement Moore
4
: to pass an implement through a substance with a circular movement
washed the spoon she was stirring with
5
: to be able to be stirred
Add water until the mixture stirs easily.
stirrer noun

stir

2 of 3

noun (1)

1
a
: a state of disturbance, agitation, or brisk activity
b
: widespread notice and discussion : impression
the book caused quite a stir
2
: a slight movement
3
: a stirring movement

stir

3 of 3

noun (2)

slang
: prison

Examples of stir in a Sentence

Verb The cake batter must be stirred for 10 minutes. Stir one cup of sugar into the batter. She was stirred from her sleep by the noise. The breeze stirred the leaves on the tree. We could see people stirring inside the shop. A good book can stir the imagination. Noun (1) the plane's first jolt caused a stir among the passengers, and by the third one they were in a panic we were warned that the slightest stir would scare the mother bird so we hardly dared to breathe Noun (2) the mule had just got out of stir and was being followed by the feds, who had their sights set on the kingpin of the operation
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
In the United States, officials closely watching the forecast said the storm stirred a sense of urgency. Scott Dance, Washington Post, 2 July 2024 Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally until the plátano is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Zayda Rivera, Parents, 2 July 2024 From walking down the historic Whiskey Row, named after the cluster of saloons, which line the streets, to taking a horseback ride or hike along the trails, Prescott will stir anyone's adventurous spirit. Brenna Gauchat, The Arizona Republic, 28 June 2024 Other shout-outs go to Derek R. Hill’s authentic production design and John Debney’s stirring score. Pete Hammond, Deadline, 27 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for stir 

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Old English styrian; akin to Old High German stōren to scatter

Noun (2)

origin unknown

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1851, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stir was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near stir

Cite this Entry

“Stir.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stir. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

stir

1 of 2 verb
stirred; stirring
1
a
: to make or cause to make an especially small movement or change of position
the leaves were barely stirring
b
: to disturb the quiet of : agitate
the bear stirred up the bees
2
: to mix, dissolve, or make especially by a continued circular movement
stir the pudding
3
a
: to rouse to action or strong feeling : incite
his pleas stirred the crowd
b
: to call forth (as a memory) : evoke
stirred thoughts of home
c
: to cause to take place : provoke
stir up trouble
4
: to be active or busy
not a creature was stirring
stirrer noun

stir

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: a state of disturbance, upset, or action
b
: widespread notice and discussion : impression
2
: a small movement
3
: a stirring movement

More from Merriam-Webster on stir

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