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

  • intransitive v. To bend forward and down from the waist or the middle of the back: had to stoop in order to fit into the cave.
  • intransitive v. To walk or stand, especially habitually, with the head and upper back bent forward.
  • intransitive v. To bend or sag downward.
  • intransitive v. To lower or debase oneself.
  • intransitive v. To descend from a superior position; condescend.
  • intransitive v. To yield; submit.
  • intransitive v. To swoop down, as a bird in pursuing its prey.
  • transitive v. To bend (the head or body) forward and down.
  • transitive v. To debase; humble.
  • n. The act of stooping.
  • n. A forward bending of the head and upper back, especially when habitual.
  • n. An act of self-abasement or condescension.
  • n. A descent, as of a bird of prey.
  • n. Chiefly Northeastern U.S. A small porch, platform, or staircase leading to the entrance of a house or building.
  • n. Variant of stoup.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The staircase and landing or porch leading to the entrance of a residence.
  • n. The threshold of a doorway, a doorstep.
  • v. To bend oneself, or one's head, forward and downward.
  • v. To lower oneself; to demean or do something below one's status, standards, or morals.
  • v. Of a bird of prey: to swoop down on its prey.
  • n. A stooping (ie. bent, see the "Verb" section above) position of the body
  • n. An accelerated descent in flight, as that for an attack.
  • n. A post or pillar, especially a gatepost or a support in a mine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Originally, a covered porch with seats, at a house door; the Dutch stoep as introduced by the Dutch into New York. Afterward, an out-of-door flight of stairs of from seven to fourteen steps, with platform and parapets, leading to an entrance door some distance above the street; the French perron. Hence, any porch, platform, entrance stairway, or small veranda, at a house door.
  • n. A vessel of liquor; a flagon.
  • n. A post fixed in the earth.
  • n. The act of stooping, or bending the body forward; inclination forward; also, an habitual bend of the back and shoulders.
  • n. Descent, as from dignity or superiority; condescension; an act or position of humiliation.
  • n. The fall of a bird on its prey; a swoop.
  • intransitive v. To bend the upper part of the body downward and forward; to bend or lean forward; to incline forward in standing or walking; to assume habitually a bent position.
  • intransitive v. To yield; to submit; to bend, as by compulsion; to assume a position of humility or subjection.
  • intransitive v. To descend from rank or dignity; to condescend.
  • intransitive v. To come down as a hawk does on its prey; to pounce; to souse; to swoop.
  • intransitive v. To sink when on the wing; to alight.
  • transitive v. To bend forward and downward; to bow down.
  • transitive v. To cause to incline downward; to slant.
  • transitive v. To cause to submit; to prostrate.
  • transitive v. To degrade.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bend; bow; incline; especially, of persons, to lower the body by bending forward and downward.
  • To be bent or inclined from the perpendicular; specifically, to carry the head and shoulders habitually bowed forward from the upright line of the rest of the body.
  • To come down; descend.
  • Specifically, to swoop upon prey or quarry, as a hawk; pounce.
  • To condescend; deign: especially expressing a lowering of the moral self, and generally followed by an infinitive or the proposition to.
  • To yield; submit; succumb.
  • To bend downward; bow.
  • To incline; tilt: as, to stoop a cask.
  • To bring or take down; lower, as a flag or a sail.
  • To put down; abase; submit; subject.
  • To cast down; prostrate; overthrow; overcome.
  • To swoop or pounce down upon.
  • To steep; macerate.
  • n. The act of stooping or bending down; hence, a habitual bend of the back or shoulders: as, to walk with a stoop.
  • n. The darting down of a bird on its prey; a swoop; a pounce.
  • n. Hence That which stoops or swoops; a hawk.
  • n. A descent from superiority, dignity, or power; a condescension, concession, or submission: as, a politic stoop.
  • n. A drinking-vessel; a beaker; a flagon; a tankard; a pitcher.
  • n. Hence Liquor for drinking, especially wine, considered as the contents of a stoop: as, he tossed off his stoop.
  • n. A basin for holy water, usuallyplaced in a niche or against the wall or a pillar at the entrance of Roman Catholic churches: also used in private houses.
  • n. An uncovered platform before the entrance of a house, raised, and approached by means of steps. Sometimes incorrectly used for porch or veranda.
  • n. The stock or stem, as of a tree; the stump.
  • n. A post or pillar; specifically, an upright post used to mark distance, etc., on a racecourse.
  • n. An upright support; a prop or column; specifically, in coal-mining, a pillar of coal left to support the roof.
  • n. Figuratively, a sustainer; a patron.
  • n.

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

  • v. debase oneself morally, act in an undignified, unworthy, or dishonorable way
  • n. an inclination of the top half of the body forward and downward
  • v. sag, bend, bend over or down
  • v. carry oneself, often habitually, with head, shoulders, and upper back bent forward
  • v. descend swiftly, as if on prey
  • n. basin for holy water
  • v. bend one's back forward from the waist on down
  • n. small porch or set of steps at the front entrance of a house


Middle English stoupen, from Old English stūpian.
Dutch stoep, front verandah, from Middle Dutch.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Dutch stoep ("platform", "pavement"). Cognate with English "step". (Wiktionary)
From Old English stūpian ("to bow, to bend"). Compare steep. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, from Old Norse stolpe (Wiktionary)



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  • Against this wall, there was a trellis of moonflowers, which popped open like small white parachutes at twilight in the summertime, and between the trellis and the stoop you could pull up water from a cistern in the veritable oaken bucket of the song.
    —James Thurber, 1952, 'Daguerreotype of a Lady', in The Thurber Album

    In this sense (‘An uncovered platform before the entrance of a house, raised, and approached by means of steps. Sometimes incorrectly used for porch or veranda.’) a N.Am. word, first recorded 1789, from Dutch 'stoep', of similar meaning in relation to Dutch domestic architecture and also used in English under that spelling.

    July 10, 2008