Definition of stirrup in US English:



  • 1Each of a pair of devices attached to each side of a horse's saddle, in the form of a loop with a flat base to support the rider's foot.

    • ‘Will slid his foot up into the stirrup of the horse's saddle and prepared to pull himself up.’
    • ‘I like the tangible reward of a blue ribbon after I've subjected myself to the torture of riding without stirrups in an equitation class.’
    • ‘The caparison horse is led behind the caisson tacked with an empty saddle with rider's boots reversed in the stirrups, a symbol of a warrior who will never ride again.’
    • ‘She was extra glad now that she had watched the men saddle their horses, watched how the cinch was tightened, and how to put one's foot in the stirrup and swing into the saddle.’
    • ‘My imagination conjured up some horrible thoughts with these shoes, what happened if they fell off the horse and couldn't get their foot out of the stirrup?’
    • ‘Other safety items are available that can be attached to reins, stirrups and martingales, as well as fluorescent saddlecloths and exercise rugs.’
    • ‘He slipped his left foot out of the stirrup but his right foot got stuck, his agent said.’
    • ‘In the moment of placing our mind, it's like we're mounting a horse: we put our foot in the stirrup and pull ourselves up to the saddle.’
    • ‘I teach my students that as they are putting their foot in the stirrup, they should mentally picture everything else that is on their mind then picture themselves dumping it over in a corner of the arena.’
    • ‘But I forever have one boot in the stirrup of my roping saddle and the other firmly planted in the stainless steel iron of my English saddle.’
    • ‘He took my waist with one arm and offered his other hand up, ‘Just take the other foot out of the stirrup and swing it over on this side and slide down.’’
    • ‘He slipped his foot into the stirrup of the heavy black western saddle and placed his fingertips on the side of the horses' neck.’
    • ‘I find when I go flat laying way back I just control the glider with the rear wires and if needed dropping one of my feet out of the foot stirrup to the base tube.’
    • ‘Flat-soled shoes increase the risk of the foot slipping through a stirrup and getting caught-up.’
    • ‘But the first time I tried it, I put the wrong foot in the right stirrup and wound up sitting backwards on the horse, watching it swat flies while the crowd around me cracked up laughing.’
    • ‘Thinking innocently that he wanted to shake it, I gave it to him freely, only to find it lashed with a leather thong and clamped between the stirrup and his foot as he spurred his horse into a gallop.’
    • ‘Adam had untied the stallion and was trying to get his foot up into the stirrup while the horse was trying all kinds of foolishness to stop him.’
    • ‘He says that horses have body language, and that your communication with them doesn't and shouldn't start when your foot hits the stirrup.’
    • ‘First and foremost, is the fact that race horses by and large have never been mounted by someone putting a foot in the stirrup.’
    • ‘She smirked as he rose to a seat with the help of his horse and the saddle stirrup.’
  • 2A pair of metal supports in which a woman's heels may be placed during gynecological examinations and childbirth, to hold her legs in a position that will facilitate medical examination or intervention.

    • ‘Femoral nerve injury is usually believed to be caused by prolonged position in the lithotomy stirrups leading to partial eschemia from kinking as the nerve passes under the inguinal ligament.’
    • ‘A well-padded leg holder for the nonsurgical leg, such as a low lithotomy stirrup, is needed to prevent unnecessary pressure on muscles and bony prominences.’
    • ‘Pressure on the peroneal nerve by lithotomy stirrups may result in paraesthesia and foot drop.’
    • ‘The table should be configured to accommodate the patient while in lithotomy stirrups.’
    • ‘When one considers the wisdom of having women lying down with their legs in lithotomy stirrups, one can see that although the thighs are abducted in this position the sacrum and coccyx are being pressed upwards and consequently the anteroposterior diameters of the cavity and outlet of the pelvis are reduced.’
  • 3

    another term for stapes
    • ‘A small ear bone called the stirrup that helps transmit sound to the inner ear.’
    • ‘The findings are drawn from examination of the hammer, anvil and stirrup bones in the ears of Homo heidelbergensis fossils, also known as Boxgrove Man.’
    • ‘Reptiles have a single ear ossicle, the stapes or stirrup bone.’
    • ‘There they became the anvil and the hammer, minute bones that transmit sound from the eardrum to the stirrup bone and, ultimately, to the inner ear.’
    • ‘The stirrup bone exerts pressure at the oval window of the inner ear, further increasing the sound energy up to fifteen times.’
  • 4stirrups

    short for stirrup pants


Old English stigrāp, from the Germanic base of obsolete sty ‘climb’ + rope.