Definition of stirrup in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstɪrəp/


Image of stirrup
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.
Example sentences
  • Will slid his foot up into the stirrup of the horse's saddle and prepared to pull himself up.
  • Other safety items are available that can be attached to reins, stirrups and martingales, as well as fluorescent saddlecloths and exercise rugs.
  • She smirked as he rose to a seat with the help of his horse and the saddle stirrup.
2 (stirrups or lithotomy stirrups) A pair of metal supports in which a woman’s ankles may be placed during gynaecological examinations and childbirth, to hold her legs in a position which will facilitate medical examination or intervention.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
3 (also stirrup bone) another term for stapes.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Reptiles have a single ear ossicle, the stapes or stirrup bone.


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

Words that rhyme with stirrup

syrup (US sirup)

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: stir|rup

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