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

  • noun A flat-based loop or ring hung from either side of a horse's saddle to support the rider's foot in mounting and riding; a stirrup iron.
  • noun A part or device shaped like an inverted U in which something is supported, held, or fixed.
  • noun A rope on a ship that hangs from a yard and has an eye at the end through which a footrope is passed for support.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A support for the foot of a person mounted on a horse, usually a metal loop with the bottom part flat and corrugated or finished with points to give a hold to the sole of the boot and to aid in mounting.
  • noun Nautical, a rope with an eye at its end, through which a foot-rope is rove, and by which it is supported.
  • noun In machinery, any piece resembling in shape and functions the stirrup of a saddle, as the iron loop by which a mill-saw hangs from the muley-head or in the sash.
  • noun In carpentry, etc., an iron loop-strap or other device for securing a rafter-post or -strut to a tie, or for supporting a beam, etc.
  • noun A hold for the foot at the end of the stock of a large crossbow, to keep it firm while the bow is bent and the string drawn to the notch. See cut under arbalister.
  • noun In anatomy, the stapes or stirrup-bone.

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

  • noun A kind of ring, or bent piece of metal, wood, leather, or the like, horizontal in one part for receiving the foot of a rider, and attached by a strap to the saddle, -- used to assist a person in mounting a horse, and to enable him to sit steadily in riding, as well as to relieve him by supporting a part of the weight of the body.
  • noun (Carp. & Mach.) Any piece resembling in shape the stirrup of a saddle, and used as a support, clamp, etc. See Bridle iron.
  • noun (Naut.) A rope secured to a yard, with a thimble in its lower end for supporting a footrope.
  • noun (Anat.) the stapes.
  • noun a parting cup taken after mounting.
  • noun an iron stirrup.
  • noun the strap which attaches a stirrup to the saddle. See Stirrup, 1.

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

  • noun A foot rest used by horse-riders.
  • noun anatomy A stapes.
  • noun Any piece shaped like the stirrup of a saddle, used as a support, clamp, etc.
  • noun nautical A rope secured to a yard, with a thimble in its lower end for supporting a footrope.
  • adjective Referring to women's pants, a form of trousers commonly worn by women that includes a strap beneath the arch of the foot.

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

  • noun the stirrup-shaped ossicle that transmits sound from the incus to the cochlea
  • noun support consisting of metal loops into which rider's feet go


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

[Middle English stirope, from Old English stīgrāp : stīgan, to mount; see steigh- in Indo-European roots + rāp, rope.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English stirop, stirope, from Old English stiġrāp ("stirrup"), a compound of stiġe ("ascent, descent, a going up or down"; related to stīġan ("to climb")) and rāp ("rope"), equivalent to sty +‎ rope.


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  • It's a shame that with the advent of the internal combustion engine, this excellent word fell out of everyday use for most people. There's a real "giddy-up" feeling about it, isn't there? Evocative of cantering.

    November 8, 2007

  • Not true! Stirrup pants!

    November 8, 2007

  • Call me a fashion-free zone, but what are stirrup pants?

    November 8, 2007

  • A most hideous invention. See here.

    Rather usefull for things like dance and baseball, but otherwise a crime against nature.

    November 8, 2007

  • Hear hear.

    November 8, 2007

  • Personally, I rather like the tradition of the stirrup cup, also known as the deoch-an-dorais.

    November 8, 2007

  • My god, stirrup pants are a thing of hideosity.

    November 8, 2007

  • But without stirrup pants, there may have been no mounted shock combat.

    November 8, 2007

  • Oh, but a stirrup serves a purpose - it keeps you on the horse and lets you stand up and wield your mace.

    The stirrup pant lacks such utility. It keeps your ankles warm at the expense of an itchy instep.

    November 8, 2007

  • I know, but I was trying to sneak in a link to mounted shock combat, the which word page actually has some usefulness regarding the stirrup page. (I love saying "the which" instead of "which." It freaks people out.)

    I also love that you said "wield your mace." Bless you for brightening my evening. :)

    November 8, 2007

  • HATE, HATE, HATE!!!! But only when applied to pants. I cannot begin to express how much I disliked stirrup pants, even when they were in fashion. They press on your knees in the most unpleasant way.

    November 8, 2007

  • Rats. Trivet's link done broke. Here and here are new ones, for Wordieternity. Be careful about clicking on this one; it's for the hardcore only.

    August 1, 2009