Main definitions of stir in English

: stir1stir2

stir1

verb

  • 1with object Move a spoon or other implement round and round in (a liquid or other substance) in order to mix it thoroughly.

    ‘Desmond stirred his tea and ate a biscuit’
    no object ‘pour in the cream and stir well’
    • ‘When you are ready to eat, stir the maple syrup sauce, and spoon some of it over the apple snow.’
    • ‘I set down the wooden spoon I'd been stirring the hot chocolate with.’
    • ‘I raised an eyebrow, grabbing a wooden spoon to stir the thickening tomato sauce.’
    • ‘Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the mixture until it resembles cake frosting.’
    • ‘Stand the saucepan in a larger pan of hot water over a medium heat, stirring the mixture until it turns clear.’
    • ‘Once added, stir the rice until it's coated with the liquid from the chicken mixture.’
    • ‘The mixture was stirred until the solutions turned colorless.’
    • ‘During the ceremony sugar crystals and water are stirred in a steel bowl with a Kirpan before the initiate drinks the mixture.’
    • ‘The external water was thoroughly stirred with a pipette for 15 s and the additional fluorescent intensity was measured.’
    • ‘‘I was stirring my tea, and the spoon got hot in my hand,’ he says.’
    • ‘Pour in the wine and stir the rice until the liquid bubbles away.’
    • ‘All three are concentrating hard on stirring their biscuit mixture while their helper urges them on.’
    • ‘His left hand was stirring his food with his spoon.’
    • ‘They took turns stirring the mixture until it seemed to be ready.’
    • ‘For the sauce, stir the remaining ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.’
    • ‘Serena picked up a spoon and stirred the froth on her coffee.’
    • ‘The drink was stirred with the spoon and then sipped and savored.’
    • ‘Then place the pan over a very low heat and stir the cheese until melted.’
    • ‘As we ate, she'd occasionally return to stir the stuff until the smell overwhelmed us and we attacked.’
    • ‘He watched in silence as the aficionado sniffed the paprika bouquet and stirred the velvety stew with his spoon.’
    mix, blend, agitate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1stir something in/into Mix an ingredient into (a liquid or other substance) by moving a spoon or other implement round and round.
      ‘stir in the flour and cook gently for two minutes’
      • ‘Cut the mushrooms in quarters and stir them in with the onions, letting it all cook until it's silky soft, yet barely coloured.’
      • ‘So shelve that sugar and stir honey crystals into your brownie batter instead.’
      • ‘I nodded slightly and stirred some sugar into my iced tea with a straw.’
      • ‘In a large mixing bowl, stir the powdered sugar and vanilla extract into the Devonshire cream.’
      • ‘Mix the extra ingredients together in a bowl, stir the sifted flour into the mixture then add cream and milk.’
      • ‘Mix in the juniper and seasoning and stir the meat and liquid into the vegetables.’
      • ‘Now add the fruit juice slowly, again stirring it in as you go.’
      • ‘Combine lightly with a fork, and then tip in the whole nuts and stir them in.’
      • ‘He took the dish off the plate and began pouring it generously into the dark liquid, stirring the spirals into the tea with a small silver spoon.’
      • ‘He took his spoon and stirred a sugar packet into his coffee.’
  • 2Move or cause to move slightly.

    no object ‘nothing stirred except the wind’
    with object ‘a gentle breeze stirred the leaves’
    ‘cloudiness is caused by the fish stirring up mud’
    • ‘The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.’
    move slightly, change one's position, twitch, quiver, tremble
    disturb, rustle, shake, move, flutter, agitate, swish
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1no object Rise or wake from sleep.
      ‘no one else had stirred yet’
      • ‘Dara stirred in her sleep on the beaten and faded blue sofa in front of him before she finally opened her eyes.’
      • ‘Instinctively her hand squeezes back but she doesn't stir from her peaceful slumber.’
      • ‘Garrison looked around the room, noticing the early risers finally stirring from their beds.’
      • ‘Sharp, rocky, and bumpy, there is a cave that is always half-filled with water, more so during high tide, and the current is always right that we do not stir when we sleep.’
      • ‘I stirred in my sleep when I felt someone nudging me.’
      • ‘He fought it but soon he was stirring and rising from bed.’
      • ‘Further down the dark little dorm other figures stir and rise, shadows from the grave.’
      • ‘As I did, Simon began to stir from his long sleep, bouncing back in time for us to launch into our next attempt to save his life.’
      • ‘Several of the sleeping men stirred in their sleep as the chill disturbed their slumber.’
      • ‘James shook his head and stirred himself from his reverie, bringing himself back to the real world.’
      • ‘Just as her fingers brushed his cheek, he stirred and woke.’
      • ‘Miguel stirred and roused from sleep as the sound of footsteps echoed in the room and the lights came on.’
      • ‘At a women's hostel on the outskirts of Bangkok, the next generation is stirring from a morning nap.’
      • ‘The woman stirred suddenly, waking from a restless sleep.’
      • ‘I reached back and squeezed her shoulder, watching as she stirred and awoke, waking them in the process.’
      • ‘His train of thought was interrupted as she stirred and woke up.’
      • ‘Yesterday, we stirred ourselves early in the day in order to go for a walk at Bedgebury Pinetum, followed by lunch at the Oak and Ivy.’
      • ‘The night's respite must have revitalized him, for he was stirring, even rising.’
      • ‘He stirred, and gently woke Raquel, who stretched luxuriously over him and smiled stupidly up at his face.’
      • ‘She didn't wake or stir when her parents entered the room.’
      get up, get out of bed, rouse oneself, bestir oneself, rise, show signs of life, be up and about, be active
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2stir from/out of Leave or go out of (a place)
      ‘as he grew older, he seldom stirred from his club’
      • ‘There is no need to stir from your sitting room, because the NHS is coming to you.’
      • ‘But, although indolence is bliss on St Lucia, there are compelling reasons to stir from your compound.’
      • ‘Finally stirring from his chair, he stood to refold the quilt and drape it over the arm.’
      • ‘Andy and I never stirred from our seats the entire while, and just found random topics, random items, and random inspirations for our shameless babble.’
      • ‘‘Fine’ he simply addressed with a cold tone, not stirring from his corner.’
      • ‘Half an hour later, I finally stirred from the sofa and thought that I might as well go back to bed.’
      • ‘I slept through Saturday though I intended to do a couple of things, and was stirred from my lair by Heather phoning about Tim's birthday drinks which I was intended to go along to.’
      • ‘You can be Indian living in America or American living in India; and sometimes, like the chatty souls at the call centers in India, you can be both and not even stir from your chair!’
      • ‘Of course, as any opera lover knows, Bizet never actually stirred himself to visit the country in which his most popular opera is set.’
      leave, depart from, go out of
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 Begin or cause to begin to be active or to develop.
      no object ‘the 1960s, when the civil rights movement stirred’
      with object ‘a voice stirred her from her reverie’
      ‘he even stirred himself to play an encore’
      • ‘Isn't that worth stirring from our complacency for?’
      • ‘My navy took a firm control of the northern seas prior to an assault on Norway, whilst Austria stirred herself at last and lined her armies along the Austro / German border.’
      • ‘Which is why I can see both West Ham and Bolton winning and the Hammers going down, deserved punishment for a season in which they stirred themselves only when it was too late.’
      • ‘In the United States things have begun to stir, and various organizations are extremely active on campus.’
      • ‘Speaker after speaker has stirred themselves to say ‘We are the party of decency, of honesty, of straight-speaking’.’
      • ‘Tully had arrived just as things were beginning to stir in the county.’
      • ‘Soon the Palace of Delair would begin to stir with the tasks of everyday life.’
      • ‘The moratorium has been there all that time, and they have not stirred themselves and put the necessary plans in place.’
      • ‘He was silent for a few moments and then suddenly stirred as he began to make the first preparations.’
      • ‘Sligo stirred themselves and he took a point when a goal looked on.’
      • ‘Guiseley stirred themselves to try and regain a bit of pride and he slipped a good ball to young striker whose effort was taken by him.’
      • ‘When a few new traditionalist architects began to stir in the 1970s, they reawakened with a strange amnesia.’
      • ‘It seems that a group of well known citizens had begun to stir up the cause of independence from the empire.’
      • ‘Punch and Layerthorpe were on level terms as they started the pairs but Punch stirred themselves to close the match 6-3 in their favour.’
      • ‘A troop of howler monkeys began to stir in the treetops just below us, letting loose a loud, primordial bellow.’
      • ‘Inside, life began to stir as the troopers started to collect themselves.’
      • ‘In fact, reformism of one sort or another is the natural first reaction of any exploited or oppressed group when it begins to stir into action against its suffering.’
      • ‘After the relentless ossification of the Post-Modern era, things are beginning to stir again.’
      • ‘He stood on the balcony of the Palace overlooking the marketplace, now beginning to stir with life.’
      • ‘Things are beginning to stir in Lancaster's Ryelands Park this spring and local people are needed to help turn the breeze into a whirlwind.’
      spur, drive, rouse, prompt, propel, prod, move, motivate, encourage
      View synonyms
  • 3with object Arouse strong feeling in (someone); move or excite.

    ‘they will be stirred to action by what is written’
    ‘he stirred up the sweating crowd’
    • ‘In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.’
    • ‘The boy stirs her and her family, especially after she becomes convinced that the boy is really the reincarnation of her true love.’
    • ‘But he was not stirred to battle because the English had killed his father, as claimed in Braveheart.’
    • ‘It was unbelievable the way his voice and carisma stirred the people.’
    • ‘The move is stirring up critics who say that the company is simply out to extend its patent life with such a targeted approval - a charge NitroMed denies.’
    • ‘‘What attracts me to flamenco, is something to do with your soul, your makeup, what stirs you,’ she explains.’
    • ‘With his courtly, old-fashioned manner, he may never have stirred Democratic crowds to a fever pitch.’
    • ‘If you are saying things that stir people, they will respond.’
    • ‘Of course I was incapable of understanding much of it at the age of seven, but I soon discovered that adults were stirred by the words.’
    • ‘If you stir an audience, move them and inspire them, that shifts them to feel warm with each other and share a sense of community.’
    • ‘All I know is that you should write the music that you love and that you believe in, that stirs you and excites you.’
    • ‘He sifts through the topics that stirred readers and made headlines last year in our much-read letters columns…’
    • ‘Matthews says his college tour is meant to stir young people who may be apathetic toward politics.’
    • ‘One reason people were so stirred by her passing was because she had experienced so many of the tumults of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘Founders proudly propagated the ‘One Zambia One Nation’ slogan that stirred the people to move on strongly and united.’
    • ‘Nothing ever stirred these people to the point when they rose from their chairs and clapped.’
    • ‘I'm sure that he will also be stirring his players by reminding them that their supposed role in the last-day drama is to lie down and let the big boys run over them.’
    • ‘He told it to me not because it was dazzling or fancy in any way, but because it was gnawing at him, stirring him, and it had to come out.’
    • ‘He was stirred by Charles de Gaulle's broadcasts on behalf of the French resistance, which were reaching Martinique from neighbouring islands.’
    • ‘No objective has stirred explorers more than the search for the source of the Nile.’
    arouse, rouse, kindle, inspire, stimulate, excite, awaken, waken, quicken, animate, activate, galvanize, fire, electrify, whet
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Arouse or prompt (a feeling or memory) or inspire (the imagination)
      ‘the story stirred many memories of my childhood’
      ‘the rumours had stirred up his anger’
      • ‘April is the cruellest month, stirring memory and desire.’
      • ‘WWII is recent enough in our national memory that interpretations still stir strong emotions.’
      • ‘The memories stirred up by these compositions are very purposeful, if only half-formed.’
      • ‘To many people these days, photographs in black-and-white bring a sense of nostalgia, and stir memories of bygone times.’
      • ‘It is the artist who uses technique not as an end but as a means to the end of communicating an idea, challenging paradigms, stirring emotions or inspiring the spirit.’
      • ‘Today, if a story has potential to stir resentment among large numbers of people, it is seized like gold by the talk shows.’
      • ‘It had been a long day, and the FBI meetings in Perryton had stirred up unwelcome memories.’
      • ‘He'll be at Casa del Popolo this Monday, Nov 4, stirring up more attention for the Michigan-based publication.’
      • ‘This unconscionable scandal must kindle the moral imagination and stir the conscience of the American public.’
      • ‘Here in the wilds of Scotland, there were also incidents of note, though none would stir fond memories of Corinthian spirit.’
      • ‘It comes most vividly to life when the chorus is aroused as, for example, when the ladies are stirred to anger by the antics of the strutting Lieutenant Zuniga.’
      • ‘Two star-crossed medieval lovers, Abelard and Heloise, are again stirring passions in France as a literary controversy rages nearly 900 years after their affair.’
      • ‘I owe her, and her husband Paul, my entire subsequent career and memories of them stir great affection.’
      • ‘For those creating an enterprise storage solution, just the word stirs great emotion.’
      • ‘Setting the heather on fire usually means stirring up a bit of excitement.’
      • ‘But that very beauty, far from filling him with joy, stirred up memories of the Paradise he had lost.’
      • ‘The comment stirred up memories of Barb's sister who died of skin cancer two years ago.’
      • ‘As it stirs our emotions with memories, it also makes possible the construction of a never-to-be forgotten narrative sequence.’
      • ‘They hoped this act would stir a feeling, prompting the practitioners to serve in modesty to make up for the inadequate medical technology they had.’
      • ‘Stubborn, emotional and romantic, the old man stirs the feelings of the reader with his crazy love.’
    2. 3.2British informal no object Deliberately cause trouble by spreading rumours or gossip.
      ‘Francis was always stirring, trying to score off people’
      • ‘They all minded themselves helplessly as they stirred with talks of gossip, death, and pets.’
      • ‘My ringworm worried her more than the swarms of rumors the local gossips were stirring.’

noun

  • 1A slight physical movement.

    ‘I stood, straining eyes and ears for the faintest stir’
    • ‘It was then that Ardon felt an odd stir of movement beneath him.’
    • ‘My feet landed without the slightest stir of dust, or typical crunch of moving dirt and rocks.’
    • ‘The ball passing became more fluent and aggressive and caused a stir in the Pioneers' defense area.’
    • ‘There was a stir of motion from the corner of her room.’
    1. 1.1 An initial sign of a specified feeling.
      ‘Caroline felt a stir of anger deep within her breast’
      • ‘He had seen that stare directed at errant Constables and felt a stir of pity for her.’
      • ‘Despite the stir of pro-Clippers feelings in Los Angeles, he is not very positive about his future with the team.’
      • ‘She did not feel even the slightest stir of love for him.’
      • ‘He also felt a stir of sympathy and stepped on it hard.’
      • ‘For the first time since they'd arrived in Sanjia, she felt a stir of pity for this young woman who was only a few months older than herself.’
      • ‘The moment I felt a stir of excitement was when I saw the wires and beams of the bridge.’
      • ‘This time, however, his emotions created a stir in him.’
      • ‘As he expounded the philosophy of enterprise and free-market wealth creation, there was a stir of interest in the public gallery.’
      • ‘The finds created a stir of interest in the isolated fishing community.’
  • 2A commotion.

    ‘the event caused quite a stir’
    • ‘What happens in Congo does not cause the slightest stir in the boardrooms of London and New York.’
    • ‘Probably neither name caused much stir from the leather armchairs in the New Club, where the city's grandees would once have counted the man in charge at North Bridge as one of their own.’
    • ‘A new political party in New Zealand is hoping to cause a big stir at next year's election.’
    • ‘Quite why this should cause such a stir I don't know.’
    • ‘This story is causing a bit of a stir, but it shouldn't.’
    • ‘There was no hope of blending in; they caused a stir, especially among the teachers, when her father turned up occasionally for the school run.’
    • ‘You cannot abandon it or sign up to it without causing a stir.’
    • ‘The picture, submitted by a teacher of Japanese fencing and martial arts, has caused a stir.’
    • ‘The Halifax created a stir last year when it started offering 4% interest on its current accounts.’
    • ‘Seven budding entrepreneurs from Swindon are creating a stir with their Young Enterprise business.’
    • ‘Its passionate music and folk-based melodies caused a stir at the turn of the century.’
    • ‘Stunning Bo caused a stir when she ran along the beach in slow motion wearing only a gold swimsuit and plaits in her hair.’
    • ‘Yet, it seems that it is popular enough to have created a stir in the physics department.’
    • ‘Understandably, his disappearing act created a stir and there you feared for the old man.’
    • ‘The write up on the state of the Barnhill Pitch & Putt Course last week has attracted a great stir in the community.’
    • ‘Temptation Island caused a stir when Sky One first announced it had bought the rights, but although it has done well for the channel it has attracted very little tabloid attention since.’
    • ‘Under normal circumstances, such a meeting wouldn't create a stir.’
    • ‘A sign of undue coziness with power brokers in Washington, her comment should have caused a media stir, but no one noticed.’
    • ‘It definitely served the purpose of creating awareness, but the whole exercise failed after the initial stir it created.’
    • ‘He is currently preparing for the upcoming Community Games finals but has created a stir recently when he competed in a 400m event.’
    commotion, disturbance, fuss, ado, excitement, flurry, uproar, ferment, brouhaha, furore, turmoil, sensation
    View synonyms
  • 3An act of stirring food or drink.

    ‘he gives his Ovaltine a stir’
    • ‘Give the chocolate mixture a stir, then spoon into the moulds.’
    • ‘Give it a quick stir, turn the heat down and leave to simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.’
    • ‘After the butter had melted Aunty Jenni gave the mixture a really good stir and some strange dark brown shapes rose to the surface from the depths.’
    • ‘This refers to the process of pouring the ingredients into the glass on top of each other and giving it a slight stir.’
    • ‘He gave the pot one final stir before turning around so he could properly talk to her.’

Phrases

  • stir the blood

    • Make someone excited or enthusiastic.

      • ‘There is so much in the next 11 months to stir the blood.’
      • ‘The Olympics as a concept, as a package, doesn't stir my blood, and I don't greatly care as such whether Australians win things or not.’
      • ‘There was little between two great teams, but Waterford were the sharper, the more determined and, in the end, sharpness and determination allied to a brand of hurling that still stirs the blood and excites the memory carried that day.’
      • ‘Granted this isn't one of those fixtures that stirs the blood and quickens the pulse.’
      • ‘If the capital wasn't exactly awash with tartan as it might have been in the days when international matches stirred the blood, there was about the place a degree of optimism, a sense that this at least amounted to the arrival of a new dawn.’
      • ‘Which is the shrewdest motivational trick of all for a national team manager to employ, because at the top level it is not money or patriotism which stirs the blood of footballers, but the prospect of self-improvement.’
      • ‘Before anyone got wet, there would be the ritual war cry, just to stir the blood and summon up the spirits of champions past.’
      • ‘There cannot, however, be much in that to stir the blood or to satisfy the passion for the chase.’
      • ‘He is hardly the kind of leader that stirs the blood.’
      • ‘Do we not deserve a flag that stirs the blood and sparks starry-eyed pride in the way that the Star-Spangled Banner does for Americans?’
  • stir one's stumps

    • dated, informal often in imperative(of a person) begin to move or act.

      • ‘But if you can stir your stumps, avoid the trippery town of Paphos, except for the Roman Villa of the mosaics, and go up to the Vineyards of the Troodos.’
      • ‘Sitting with a beer at the garden table has its merits but we will soon be cold and wet if we don't stir our stumps.’
      • ‘However, our duties calling us imperatively, we weren't able to stay another night, and because the gate at the entrance to the Sanctuary is closed from 6.30 pm till 6 o'clock in the morning, we had to stir our stumps pretty briskly.’
      • ‘Here, you Matthews, look for sharp and stir your stumps a bit - one would think you were walking in your sleep.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, this is one disadvantage to being published by a small press - you pretty much have to stir your stumps and do your own promotion.’
      • ‘Speaking as a Cornishman, I found it a little off-putting that when I decided to stir my stumps and ‘do’ the Cornwall Coastal Footpath that all the guidebooks were written backwards from my perspective.’
      • ‘Things are never dull when she stirs her stumps to create a mild uproar in that pompous little town.’
      • ‘Do you think you could stop admiring your manicure, stir your stumps and do it before your mistress comes downstairs for breakfast?’
      • ‘‘Too few of us are willing to stir our stumps to be active citizens to work at least for a better society,’ he told the Sydney Ideas audience.’
      • ‘I really must stir my stumps and start advertising, there must be more people on the Peninsula who like to knit and natter.’
      be quick, look smart, hurry up, speed up
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • stir something up

    • Cause or provoke trouble or bad feeling.

      ‘he accused me of trying to stir up trouble’
      • ‘We both laughed nervously and he told me that he had heard that some Asian youths in Leeds had been stirring things up by deliberately leaving rucksacks on buses.’
      • ‘On this occasion I am bound to suspect that his quoted views have been obtained by a reporter intent on stirring up controversy by approaching him for his views on a film which he has clearly not seen.’
      • ‘"They have been stirring up chaos in Hong Kong and at the same time they want to change the mainland's political system.’
      • ‘When the film was screened at the Venice film festival, there were a few boos from the audience, but he is happy his work is stirring up a reaction.’
      • ‘Education Secretary Ruth Kelly is stirring up opposition from teaching unions after putting a localised pay structure for teachers back on the agenda.’
      • ‘The far-right ideologue's appearance here is already stirring up a hornet's nest of opposition.’
      • ‘But already it seems he is stirring up the kind of controversy which will be very familiar to those who have watched his career from Britain.’
      • ‘He was released in 1999 under the Good Friday Agreement, only to be taken back to jail in August 2000 for allegedly stirring up rivalries among loyalists.’
      • ‘A brewery is stirring up a touch of controversy in the Yorkshire Dales - with an advertising campaign declaring that ‘drinking is folly’.’
      • ‘As host of a daily phone-in show, he has extensive experience at stirring up arguments among the famously reserved and tolerant populace of Northern Ireland.’
      whip up, work up, foment, fan the flames of, trigger, spark off, excite, provoke, instigate, incite
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English styrian, of Germanic origin; related to German stören ‘disturb’.

Pronunciation

stir

/stəː/

Main definitions of stir in English

: stir1stir2

stir2

noun

informal
  • Prison.

    ‘I've spent twenty-eight years in stir’
    • ‘In stir, he dreamed about his boxing career, how he was going to train and go straight and turn his life around.’
    • ‘That's right; something as innocent as playing computer chess on your laptop in a hotel lobby is now a crime with penalties of up to three months in stir and a fine of 10,000 euros.’
    • ‘One way or another, he was going to get some payback for his time in stir.’
    • ‘Well, at least the person who did such a miserable job ended up in stir for defrauding another customer.’
    • ‘He says that others involved with the site will continue to update it while he's in stir, where, he says, he plans to spend his time studying.’
    • ‘He later retained an attorney, and after seven months in stir was released on bail with his pre-trial release restrictions tightened further.’
    • ‘People have done hard time in stir for a good deal less, but of course they didn't own e-tail outfits.’
    • ‘He plays the most infamous hacker in the history of computer espionage, who has done time in stir and now wants to go straight.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: perhaps from Romany sturbin ‘jail’.

Pronunciation

stir

/stəː/