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

  • n. 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.
  • n. A part or device shaped like an inverted U in which something is supported, held, or fixed.
  • n. Nautical 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.
  • n. Anatomy See stapes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • n. Any piece resembling in shape the stirrup of a saddle, and used as a support, clamp, etc. See Bridle iron.
  • n. A rope secured to a yard, with a thimble in its lower end for supporting a footrope.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. Nautical, a rope with an eye at its end, through which a foot-rope is rove, and by which it is supported.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In anatomy, the stapes or stirrup-bone.

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

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


Middle English stirope, from Old English stīgrāp : stīgan, to mount; + rāp, rope.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)



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  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    November 8, 2007

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

    November 8, 2007

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

    November 8, 2007

  • Hear hear.

    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

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

    November 8, 2007

  • Not true! Stirrup pants!

    November 8, 2007

  • 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