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

  • n. An enclosure for swine.
  • n. A filthy place.
  • transitive v. To shut up in or live in a sty.
  • n. Inflammation of one or more sebaceous glands of an eyelid.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pen or enclosure for swine.
  • n. A messy or dirty place.
  • v. To place in a sty.
  • v. To live in a sty, or any messy or dirty place.
  • n. A ladder.
  • n. An inflammation of the eyelid.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A pen or inclosure for swine.
  • n. A place of bestial debauchery.
  • n. An inflamed swelling or boil on the edge of the eyelid.
  • intransitive v. To soar; to ascend; to mount. See stirrup.
  • transitive v. To shut up in, or as in, a sty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To go upward; mount; ascend; soar.
  • To mount (upon a horse).
  • To aspire.
  • To occupy a sty or hovel; live in a sty.
  • To lodge in a sty or hovel; pen up.
  • n. An ascent; an ascending lane or path; any narrow pathway or course.
  • n. A step upward; a stair.
  • n. A ladder.
  • n. A pen or inclosure for swine; a pigsty.
  • n. Hence A filthy hovel or place: any place of mean living or bestial debauchery.
  • n. A circumscribed inflammatory swelling of the edge of the eyelid, like a small boil; hordeolurn. Also spelled stye.

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

  • n. an infection of the sebaceous gland of the eyelid
  • n. a pen for swine


Middle English, from Old English stig.
Alteration of Middle English styanye : styan, sty (from Old English stīgend, from present participle of stīgan, to rise; see steigh- in Indo-European roots) + eye, ye, eye; see eye.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English sty, from Old English stī, stiġ ("sty, pen, a wooden enclosure; hall", chiefly in compounds), from Proto-Germanic *stijan. Cognate with German Steige ("hen-coop"), Danish sti ("enclosure for swine, sheep, hens, etc."), Swedish stia ("sty for pigs, geese, etc."), Norwegian sti ("flock of sheep"), Icelandic stía ("a kennel"). (Wiktionary)
Old English stīgan, from Old Norse stíga, from Proto-Germanic *stīganan, from Proto-Indo-European *steigʰ-. Cognate with Dutch stijgen, German steigen, Swedish stiga. (Wiktionary)
Probably a back-formation from styany, mistaken for "sty-on-eye" but correctly from Middle English styany, composed of styan ("sty"; from Old English stīġende, present participle of stīgan ("to rise")) + y ("eye"). (Wiktionary)



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