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

  • intransitive verb To look directly, fixedly, or vacantly, often with a wide-eyed gaze. synonym: gaze.
  • intransitive verb To look at directly and fixedly.
  • noun An intent gaze.
  • idiom (stare in the face) To be plainly visible or obvious to (one); force itself on (one's) attention.
  • idiom (stare in the face) To be obvious to (one) though initially overlooked.
  • idiom (stare in the face) To be imminent or unavoidable to (one).
  • idiom (stare in the face) To be about to experience or undergo (something dire).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A starling.
  • Stiff; weary.
  • noun The marram or matweed, Ammophila arundinacea: same as halm, 3; also applied to species of Carex.
  • To gaze steadily with the eyes wide open; fasten an earnest and continued look on some object; gaze, as in admiration, wonder, surprise, stupidity, horror, fright, impudence, etc.
  • To stand out stiffly, as hair; be prominent; be stiff; stand on end; bristle.
  • To shine; glitter; be brilliant.
  • To be unduly conspicuous or prominent, as by excess of color or by ugliness. Compare staring, 3.
  • Synonyms Gaze, Gape, Stare, Gloat. Gaze is the only one of these words that may be used in an elevated sense. Gaze represents a fixed and prolonged look, with the mind absorbed in that which is looked at. To gape is in this connection to look with open mouth, and hence with the bumpkin's idle curiosity, listlessness, or ignorant wonder: one may gape at a single thing, or only gape about. Siare expresses the intent look of surprise, of mental weakness, or of insolence; it implies fixedness, whether momentary or continued. Gloat has now almost lost the meaning of looking with the natural eye, and has gone over into the meaning of mental attention; in either sense it means looking with ardor or even rapture, often the delight of possession, as when the miser gloats over his wealth.
  • To affect or influence in some specified way by staring; look carnestly or fixedlv at; hence, to look at with either a bold or a vacant expression.
  • noun The act of one who stares; a fixed look with eyes wide open, usually suggesting amazement, vacancy, or insolence.

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

  • noun The act of staring; a fixed look with eyes wide open.
  • transitive verb To look earnestly at; to gaze at.
  • transitive verb to be before the eyes, or to be undeniably evident.
  • noun (Zoöl.), obsolete The starling.
  • intransitive verb To look with fixed eyes wide open, as through fear, wonder, surprise, impudence, etc.; to fasten an earnest and prolonged gaze on some object.
  • intransitive verb To be very conspicuous on account of size, prominence, color, or brilliancy.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To stand out; to project; to bristle.

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

  • verb intransitive To look fixedly (at something).
  • noun A persistent gaze.

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

  • verb look at with fixed eyes
  • noun a fixed look with eyes open wide
  • verb fixate one's eyes


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

[Middle English staren, from Old English starian; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English staren, from Old English starian ("to stare"), from Proto-Germanic *starājanan (“to be fixed, be rigid”), from Proto-Indo-European *stere-, *strē- (“strong, steady”). Cognate with Dutch staren ("to stare"), German starren ("to stare"), Norwegian stare ("to stare"), German starr ("stiff"). More at start.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word stare.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.