Definition of starch in English:



mass noun
  • 1An odourless, tasteless white substance occurring widely in plant tissue and obtained chiefly from cereals and potatoes. It is a polysaccharide which functions as a carbohydrate store and is an important constituent of the human diet.

    • ‘Sucrose can be converted to all other forms of carbohydrates, such as starch, as a storage compound in the roots and trunks, and cellulose, which is present in all cells.’
    • ‘Loci detected by genes functional in starch and hexose metabolism or transport are shaded gray.’
    • ‘Rhodophytes store their energy surplus from photosynthesis in the form of floridean starch, a carbohydrate assembled from approximately 15 glucose units.’
    • ‘They stored more soluble carbohydrates than starch, with concentrations five to ten times higher than those in flower buds or vegetative organs.’
    • ‘The contents of protein, sugar, starch and lysine in maize plant are critical to maize quality.’
    • ‘Virtually all of the carbohydrate accumulated as starch and sucrose during the day was degraded at night.’
    • ‘Enzymatically, amylase breaks starch into maltose and glucose.’
    • ‘Glucose, in turn, is used as an eventual building block for sucrose, starch, and other carbohydrates.’
    • ‘Nodules were extracted and assayed for starch, sucrose, glucose, fructose, total amino acids, and ureides as described previously.’
    • ‘For example, soft drink manufacturers use a heat stable enzyme to turn starch from potatoes into sugar that can then be used in soft drinks.’
    • ‘From these results, it was proposed that sucrose metabolism following rapid starch degradation plays an important role in energy production and growth of pondweed turions under anoxia.’
    • ‘The starch stored in natural plant sugars is harvested and then the sugar is fermented into lactic acid.’
    • ‘The three types of complex carbohydrates of nutritional importance are fiber, starch, and glycogen.’
    • ‘This decrease of invertase activities resulted in a decreased hexose: sucrose ratio accompanied by starch and protein deposition.’
    • ‘Yamada provided extensive data showing the rapid loss of starch and total carbohydrates during submergence in leaves, leaf sheaths and roots.’
    • ‘The sugars are often linked together for easy storage into a complex carbohydrate called starch.’
    • ‘The most important polysaccharides are starch, cellulose and glycogen.’
    • ‘But Vicki Finkenstadt and J.L. Willett have shown that plant polysaccharides, such as starch and cellulose, work just as well.’
    • ‘Starchy materials which contain more complex carbohydrates, including starch and insulin, require several steps before fermentation.’
    • ‘Unbranched starch is called amylose; branched starch is called amylopectin.’
    1. 1.1 Food containing starch.
      ‘they eat far too much starch’
      • ‘For lunch, the main meal of the day, people eat soup, meat, a main-course starch, vegetables, and a salad.’
      • ‘Thus his diet promotes the eating of fats and proteins rather then starch, sugars and carbohydrates.’
      • ‘To qualify, there should be a carbohydrate or starch source such as rice, pasta, or potatoes, some protein as in meat or eggs and vegetables or fruit to provide vitamins and minerals.’
      • ‘Vegetarians base their diet on four main food groups: starch, legumes, fruits and vegetables.’
      • ‘Fold the vanilla, vinegar, and potato starch into the egg white mixture.’
      • ‘There is no meat (apart from fish) no bread, protein, starch, carbohydrates… nothing but leaves, nuts and berries.’
      • ‘In a large bowl, combine the lobster, scallops, shrimp, egg white and potato starch; mix well to combine.’
      • ‘A life food diet excludes cooked food and starch because they cause mold, fungi, and yeast to form in the body.’
      • ‘The traditional German diet is high in starch (noodles and dumplings in the south, potatoes in the north).’
      • ‘If protein foods are eaten with starch, six or more hours are needed depending on the type of protein.’
      • ‘It is true that our body needs the four food groups: protein, starch, vitamins and minerals, and fats, but they all cannot be digested at the same time.’
      • ‘For the lobster noodles: In a food processor combine the lobster meat, egg white, potato starch, and yam.’
      • ‘This plant has a wide distribution in tropical Africa and is an important source of starch and protein for Africans.’
      • ‘Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starch and other foods into energy needed for daily life.’
      • ‘He also instructs his readers to avoid starch, sugar, and flour based foods and to prefer light meats, greens, root vegetables, cabbage, and fruit.’
      • ‘Eat either protein or starch combined with vegetables other than the potato.’
      • ‘In the northeast of England, food is heavy, solid, comforting; filled with protein, carbohydrates, starch, and grease.’
      • ‘A basic meal comprises a starch food, preferably soft or hard taro, tapioca, or rice, and a protein food, normally fish.’
      • ‘Indeed, some athletes have found success in reducing their intake of starch and replacing it with high-protein foods.’
      • ‘The last group includes energy food, including animal and plant oil, starch and wine.’
  • 2Powder or spray made from starch and used before ironing to stiffen fabric or clothing.

    ‘crisp linen, stiff with starch’
    • ‘Taro has also sometimes been used to make a powdered starch resembling arrowroot.’
    • ‘It may contain any of the diluents, with the exception of starch, permitted for powdered extracts.’
    • ‘A good sewing tip from Sharon is to use spray starch on the fabric.’
    • ‘A consciousness raising group turns into a commercial for spray starch.’
    • ‘Use spray starch on knit edges that tend to curl.’
    • ‘White shirts and blouses, pillowcases and such also had to be starched - and we're not talking starch sprayed out of a can.’
    • ‘The starch and cellulose powder used in Z Corp's 3D Printers also works very well.’
    • ‘One can also get various varieties of soaps, bleaching powders, starch powder and different varieties of pickles made by the self-employment units funded by the Khadi board.’
    • ‘To ensure a smooth, soil-resistant surface, apply liquid starch to the fabric top surface in the same manner.’
    • ‘And the button-down variety always felt like they'd been dipped in starch, stiff and scratchy.’
    • ‘As a remedy, kuzu root is used in two ways: as powdered starch and as whole dried root.’
    • ‘A press cloth also prevents the build-up of fabric finishes and spray starch on the iron soleplate.’
    • ‘A little spray starch with the iron will help too.’
    • ‘At this point in time, his evening suit was wrinkled, although it was normally pressed and stiff with starch.’
    • ‘Most hospital filtration systems are not adequate to filter out the fine latex-laden starch powder.’
    • ‘You'll need a good iron, a hard surface to iron on (preferably an ironing board), and some spray starch.’
    • ‘The Minor test involves painting the affected area of the skin with iodine solution and after allowing time for drying, dusting the area with starch powder.’
  • 3Stiffness of manner or character.

    ‘the starch in her voice’
    • ‘The British reviews were cold and formal... The great Romantic critics had not appeared, to take the starch out of their pompous manners.’


[with object]
  • 1Stiffen (fabric or clothing) with starch.

    ‘starch your collar to keep it straight and stiff’
    • ‘He wore a white starched jacket and swept hair from the floor, cleaned mirrors and was eventually given the chance to learn how to shampoo.’
    • ‘He worked fourteen hours a day, wore identical white starched shirts and slept in his office.’
    • ‘Surely Langlands & Bell could not survive this far from a place that starches shirts?’
    • ‘In typical French fashion, the tables had starched white linen covers, with contrasting yellow and blue napkins.’
    • ‘She had four children and her husband insisted that she starch all of his shirts and iron them every morning.’
    • ‘I just wish the pilot wasn't wearing shiny black shoes, pressed black trousers, and a white, starched shirt with epaulettes that vaguely suggest a naval uniform.’
    • ‘First, you can always start buying top of the line shirts with crisper collars and have them starched every time you wear them.’
    • ‘The war days, the old meeting places and the hours spent starching shirts are all recalled in the special publication.’
    • ‘And for just as long, it's also been known as a place where mostly white guys in mostly starched shirts hold all the cards.’
    • ‘In my undergraduate day we came out of medical schools with shiny doctor's badges on our freshly starched white coats, ironed lovingly by our proud mothers.’
    • ‘Not a hard task considering how starched the jacket was.’
    • ‘It was true; he was wearing a white starched shirt, with a white vest, and a thick grey tweed suit jacket.’
    • ‘Tables have heavily starched white linen tablecloths and bright red napkins as contrast.’
    • ‘The restaurant has heavy starched white linen tablecloths and huge antique Siamese chairs with mother-of-pearl inlaid backs.’
    • ‘He was wearing a neatly pressed and starched white shirt, with a lovely dark blue tie.’
    • ‘But you have to have discipline to iron and starch a shirt.’
    • ‘The waiters have new uniforms: pinstripe trousers, tail coats, starched shirts with black ties.’
    • ‘He was dressed elegantly in severe black evening wear, crisply white starched shirt and intricately tied cravat.’
    • ‘Assembling on the surgical ward for our first ward round, we were like snowmen on parade, with freshly starched white coats and stethoscopes shyly peeping from pockets.’
    • ‘Skirts were starched so heavily they could stand by themselves.’
  • 2North American informal (of a boxer) defeat (an opponent) by a knockout.

    ‘Ray Domenge starched Jeff Geddami in the first’
    • ‘Wlad Klitschko was a last minute replacement and Tye starched him in round 1.’


  • take the starch out of

    • Deflate or humiliate (someone)

      ‘a blistering body attack took all the starch out of the boxer’
      • ‘Still, Truman's political troubles did not take the starch out of him, and his correspondence contains many examples of his typically blunt language.’
      • ‘It netted 22 yards and seemed to take the starch out of Tennessee's blitzing defense.’
      • ‘However, the climb out of that amazing canyon really took the starch out of me.’
      • ‘But they scored six runs against us and took the starch out of us.’
      • ‘I didn't want him to go so fast as to take the starch out of him.’
      • ‘Maybe the Sunday night victory party at the beach-front home of his lawyer Glenn Cohen took the starch out of him.’
      • ‘The fees and other charges took the starch out of me.’
      • ‘She ran a terrific race until Horse Killer Hill took the starch out of her at 45.’
      • ‘If they can make the Bulls pay for crowding Wade and fronting Shaq, it will take the starch out of Chicago's defense and force it to back off.’
      • ‘My doctor first tried a beta blocker, but it caused shortness of breath and took the starch out of me.’


Old English (recorded only in the past participle sterced ‘stiffened’), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch sterken, German stärken ‘strengthen’, also to stark.