Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A series or flight of steps; a staircase.
  • noun One of a flight of steps.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A step; a degree.
  • noun One of a series of steps to mount by: as, a flight of stairs.
  • noun A flight or succession of flights of steps, arranged one behind and above the other in such a way as to afford passage from a lower to a higher level, or vice versa: as, a winding stair; the back stair: often used in the plural in the same sense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One step of a series for ascending or descending to a different level; -- commonly applied to those within a building.
  • noun A series of steps, as for passing from one story of a house to another; -- commonly used in the plural; but originally used in the singular only.
  • noun in the basement or lower part of a house, where the servants are.
  • noun the stairs which make the whole ascent of a story.
  • noun a set or flight of stairs. -- pair, in this phrase, having its old meaning of a set. See Pair, n., 1.
  • noun (Arch.) a single set of stairs, or section of a stairway, from one platform to the next.
  • noun a rod, usually of metal, for holding a stair carpet to its place.
  • noun See Upstairs in the Vocabulary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A single step in a staircase.
  • noun A series of steps, a staircase.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun support consisting of a place to rest the foot while ascending or descending a stairway

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English stǣger; see steigh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English staire, stayre, stayer, steir, steyre, steyer, from Old English stǣġer ("stair, staircase"), from Proto-Germanic *staigriz (“stairs, scaffolding”), from Proto-Indo-European *steygʰ- (“to walk, proceed, march, climb”). Cognate with Dutch steiger ("a stair, step, wharf, pier, scaffolding"), Middle Low German steiger, steir ("scaffolding"). Related to Old English āstǣgan ("to ascend, go up, embark"), Old English stīgan ("to go, move, reach; ascend, mount, go up, spring up, rise; scale"), German Stiege ("a flight of stairs"). More at sty.

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