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.

    • ‘Enzymatically, amylase breaks starch into maltose and glucose.’
    • ‘Rhodophytes store their energy surplus from photosynthesis in the form of floridean starch, a carbohydrate assembled from approximately 15 glucose units.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Loci detected by genes functional in starch and hexose metabolism or transport are shaded gray.’
    • ‘Yamada provided extensive data showing the rapid loss of starch and total carbohydrates during submergence in leaves, leaf sheaths and roots.’
    • ‘Virtually all of the carbohydrate accumulated as starch and sucrose during the day was degraded at night.’
    • ‘Starchy materials which contain more complex carbohydrates, including starch and insulin, require several steps before fermentation.’
    • ‘The most important polysaccharides are starch, cellulose and glycogen.’
    • ‘Unbranched starch is called amylose; branched starch is called amylopectin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The contents of protein, sugar, starch and lysine in maize plant are critical to maize quality.’
    • ‘The three types of complex carbohydrates of nutritional importance are fiber, starch, and glycogen.’
    • ‘Glucose, in turn, is used as an eventual building block for sucrose, starch, and other carbohydrates.’
    • ‘This decrease of invertase activities resulted in a decreased hexose: sucrose ratio accompanied by starch and protein deposition.’
    • ‘Nodules were extracted and assayed for starch, sucrose, glucose, fructose, total amino acids, and ureides as described previously.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They stored more soluble carbohydrates than starch, with concentrations five to ten times higher than those in flower buds or vegetative organs.’
    • ‘The starch stored in natural plant sugars is harvested and then the sugar is fermented into lactic acid.’
    • ‘The sugars are often linked together for easy storage into a complex carbohydrate called starch.’
    • ‘But Vicki Finkenstadt and J.L. Willett have shown that plant polysaccharides, such as starch and cellulose, work just as well.’
    1. 1.1 Food containing starch.
      ‘they eat far too much starch’
      • ‘For the lobster noodles: In a food processor combine the lobster meat, egg white, potato starch, and yam.’
      • ‘Thus his diet promotes the eating of fats and proteins rather then starch, sugars and carbohydrates.’
      • ‘If protein foods are eaten with starch, six or more hours are needed depending on the type of protein.’
      • ‘For lunch, the main meal of the day, people eat soup, meat, a main-course starch, vegetables, and a salad.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The traditional German diet is high in starch (noodles and dumplings in the south, potatoes in the north).’
      • ‘A life food diet excludes cooked food and starch because they cause mold, fungi, and yeast to form in the body.’
      • ‘Eat either protein or starch combined with vegetables other than the potato.’
      • ‘This plant has a wide distribution in tropical Africa and is an important source of starch and protein for Africans.’
      • ‘The last group includes energy food, including animal and plant oil, starch and wine.’
      • ‘There is no meat (apart from fish) no bread, protein, starch, carbohydrates… nothing but leaves, nuts and berries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the northeast of England, food is heavy, solid, comforting; filled with protein, carbohydrates, starch, and grease.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He also instructs his readers to avoid starch, sugar, and flour based foods and to prefer light meats, greens, root vegetables, cabbage, and fruit.’
      • ‘In a large bowl, combine the lobster, scallops, shrimp, egg white and potato starch; mix well to combine.’
      • ‘Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starch and other foods into energy needed for daily life.’
  • 2Powder or spray made from starch and used before ironing to stiffen fabric or clothing.

    ‘crisp linen, stiff with starch’
    • ‘White shirts and blouses, pillowcases and such also had to be starched - and we're not talking starch sprayed out of a can.’
    • ‘Most hospital filtration systems are not adequate to filter out the fine latex-laden starch powder.’
    • ‘The starch and cellulose powder used in Z Corp's 3D Printers also works very well.’
    • ‘At this point in time, his evening suit was wrinkled, although it was normally pressed and stiff with starch.’
    • ‘And the button-down variety always felt like they'd been dipped in starch, stiff and scratchy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A press cloth also prevents the build-up of fabric finishes and spray starch on the iron soleplate.’
    • ‘A consciousness raising group turns into a commercial for spray starch.’
    • ‘It may contain any of the diluents, with the exception of starch, permitted for powdered extracts.’
    • ‘You'll need a good iron, a hard surface to iron on (preferably an ironing board), and some spray starch.’
    • ‘A good sewing tip from Sharon is to use spray starch on the fabric.’
    • ‘Use spray starch on knit edges that tend to curl.’
    • ‘As a remedy, kuzu root is used in two ways: as powdered starch and as whole dried root.’
    • ‘Taro has also sometimes been used to make a powdered starch resembling arrowroot.’
    • ‘A little spray starch with the iron will help too.’
  • 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’
    • ‘The waiters have new uniforms: pinstripe trousers, tail coats, starched shirts with black ties.’
    • ‘But you have to have discipline to iron and starch a shirt.’
    • ‘Not a hard task considering how starched the jacket was.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was true; he was wearing a white starched shirt, with a white vest, and a thick grey tweed suit jacket.’
    • ‘He was wearing a neatly pressed and starched white shirt, with a lovely dark blue tie.’
    • ‘She had four children and her husband insisted that she starch all of his shirts and iron them every morning.’
    • ‘He worked fourteen hours a day, wore identical white starched shirts and slept in his office.’
    • ‘In typical French fashion, the tables had starched white linen covers, with contrasting yellow and blue napkins.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was dressed elegantly in severe black evening wear, crisply white starched shirt and intricately tied cravat.’
    • ‘The restaurant has heavy starched white linen tablecloths and huge antique Siamese chairs with mother-of-pearl inlaid backs.’
    • ‘Tables have heavily starched white linen tablecloths and bright red napkins as contrast.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘First, you can always start buying top of the line shirts with crisper collars and have them starched every time you wear them.’
    • ‘Skirts were starched so heavily they could stand by themselves.’
    • ‘Surely Langlands & Bell could not survive this far from a place that starches shirts?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The war days, the old meeting places and the hours spent starching shirts are all recalled in the special publication.’
  • 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’
      • ‘The fees and other charges took the starch out of me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, the climb out of that amazing canyon really took the starch out of me.’
      • ‘Still, Truman's political troubles did not take the starch out of him, and his correspondence contains many examples of his typically blunt language.’
      • ‘My doctor first tried a beta blocker, but it caused shortness of breath and took the starch out of me.’
      • ‘Maybe the Sunday night victory party at the beach-front home of his lawyer Glenn Cohen took the starch out of him.’
      • ‘It netted 22 yards and seemed to take the starch out of Tennessee's blitzing defense.’
      • ‘I didn't want him to go so fast as to take the starch out of him.’
      • ‘But they scored six runs against us and took the starch out of us.’
      • ‘She ran a terrific race until Horse Killer Hill took the starch out of her at 45.’


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