Definition of stevedore in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstēvəˌdôr/


A person employed, or a contractor engaged, at a dock to load and unload cargo from ships.
Example sentences
  • The group represents importers, exporters, stevedores and ship owners throughout Australia and overseas using Geraldton port.
  • Although contractual arrangements are normally between stevedores and ship operators/owners for the supply of stevedoring services, stevedoring demand is best measured in terms of cargo volume than numbers of ships serviced.
  • Mariners and merchants made money managing the trade, carters and stevedores stowed staples on ships, and coopers created barrels to contain flour bound for the sea.


Late 18th century: from Spanish estivador, from estivar 'stow a cargo', from Latin stipare 'pack tight'.

  • stiff from Old English:

    An Old English word, stiff goes back to a Germanic root meaning ‘inflexible’ and shares an Indo-European ancestry with Latin stipare ‘press, pack’ source of constipate (Late Middle English) and via Spanish the stevedore (late 18th century) who packs away cargo. As a noun meaning ‘a dead body’ it dates back to the USA of the 1850s. The stiffs, meaning the reserve team of a sports club, is a 1950s use. See also starve.

    The stiff upper lip, a quality of uncomplaining stoicism so often thought of as peculiarly British is apparently North American in origin. The earliest recorded example is from the US writer John Neal's novel The Down Easters (1833): ‘What's the use o' boo-hooin’?…Keep a stiff upper lip; no bones broke.’

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ste·ve·dore

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