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go stir-crazy

To become acutely anxious, restless, irritable, irrational, and/or depressed from remaining for too long in an unstimulating, confined, and/or isolated environment. "Stir" in this usage is a slang word for prison. We thought taking our family vacation in a tiny cottage out in the country would be a nice break from city life, but we all went a bit stir-crazy after a few days. The doctor said I need to remain in bed as much as possible, but I'll go stir-crazy if I can't get out of the house at least once a day!

cause (quite) a stir

 and cause a commotion
to cause people to become agitated; to cause trouble in a group of people; to shock or alarm people. When Bob appeared without jacket and tie, it caused a stir at the state dinner. The dog ran through the church and caused quite a commotion.
See also: cause, stir

stir someone (in)to something

to excite someone into doing something. The events of the day stirred everyone into action. The danger stirred them to action.
See also: stir

stir someone up

Fig. to get someone excited; to get someone angry. (Fig. on stir something up.) The march music really stirred the audience up. The march stirred up the audience.
See also: stir, up

stir something around

to agitate or mix a liquid substance by moving it in a circular motion. stir the mixture around to mix it up. You should stir the dressing around a bit before you serve it.
See also: around, stir

stir something into something

 and stir something in
to mix something into something. The painter stirred too much red pigment into the paint. The painter stirred in the pigment.
See also: stir

stir something up

1. Lit. to mix something by stirring. Please stir the pancake batter up before you use it. Please stir up the batter.
2. Fig. to cause trouble. Why are you always trying to stir trouble up? Are you stirring up trouble again?
See also: stir, up

stir up a hornet's nest

Fig. to create a lot of trouble. (Fig. on stir something up .) If you say that to her, you will be stirring up a hornet's nest. There is no need to stir up a hornet's nest.
See also: nest, stir, up


crazy from being confined. (*Typically: be ~; become ~; go ~; get ~; make someone ~. stir is a slang word for prison.) I am going to go stir-crazy if I don't get out of this office.

cause a stir

also create a stir
to cause unusual interest or excitement Rufus was arguing with his older daughter about her boyfriend, and it caused a stir in the family.
Usage notes: often used with quite for emphasis: Her latest novel has created quite a stir.
See also: cause, stir

stir up somebody/something

also stir up a hornet's nest
to cause a situation that upsets many people One official claimed that foreign activists were stirring up trouble. The threat of censorship stirred up a hornet's nest of criticism on the Internet.
See also: stir, up

cause/create a stir

to cause a lot of interest and excitement Emma caused quite a stir in her little black dress last night.
See also: cause, stir


  (mainly American informal)
upset and nervous because you have been in one place for too long
Usage notes: Stir is a word used in American English for a prison.
It's no wonder she's going stir-crazy, shut in that tiny house all day with three young children.

cause a commotion

Also, cause a stir. Give rise to a disturbance, raise a fuss. For example, The opening debate was so bitter it caused a commotion in the legislature, or Her entrance always caused a stir.
See also: cause, commotion

stir up

1. Mix together the ingredients or parts, as in He stirred up some pancake batter, or Will you stir up the fire? [Mid-1300s]
2. Rouse to action, incite, provoke, as in He's always stirring up trouble among the campers, or If the strikers aren't careful they'll stir up a riot. [First half of 1500s] Also see stir up a hornets' nest.
See also: stir, up

stir up a hornets' nest

Make trouble, cause a commotion, as in Asking for an audit of the treasurer's books stirred up a hornets' nest in the association. This metaphoric term, likening hornets to angry humans, dates from the first half of the 1700s.
See also: nest, stir, up

stir in

To introduce something, such as an ingredient, into a liquid or mixture while stirring: The fruit punch tasted a bit bland, so I stirred in a cup of grape juice. Once the sauce is simmering, stir some parsley in.
See also: stir

stir up

1. To mix something before cooking or use: You must stir up the concrete thoroughly before you start paving the path. I poured the batter into a bowl and stirred it up vigorously.
2. To churn or agitate something into a state of turbulence: The storm stirred up the normally placid lake. The wind stirs the leaves up.
3. To cause something to form by churning or agitating: The truck zoomed off, stirring a cloud of dust up behind it. I stirred up a batch of concrete in the mixer and got to work paving the driveway.
4. To rouse the emotions of someone or something; excite someone or something: The protesters hope to stir up the public through this demonstration. The teacher stirred the students up when she threatened to give them more work.
5. To summon some collective emotion or sentiment by exciting a group of people: The court's verdict was certain to stir up controversy. The tourism board is trying to stir up interest in the city.
6. To evoke some mental image or remembrance: That old picture stirs up many memories for me.
See also: stir, up


n. prison. (Underworld.) I can’t stand being in stir!

stir crazy

mod. anxious and mentally disturbed from being confined, as in prison. (see also stir.) I was going stir crazy in my little room, so I moved to a bigger place.
See also: crazy, stir
References in periodicals archive ?
Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Friction Stir Welded (FSW) AA5454-Joints (X.
Stephen Aikin has spent almost 20 years continuously trading STIR futures for his own account, every year of which has been profitable.
Stir together sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
SIMPLE SYRUP: In a small bowl or glass, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup hot water and stir until completely dissolved.
Eclipse's pioneering work in friction stir welding is very impressive, and by adding their unique and advanced technology, we can expand our friction stir welding capability.
Stir in 1/3 cup wine; cook 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.
When water boils, add rice, stir and reduce the heat to low.
NYSE:TWR) today announced it has successfully produced suspension links for Ford Motor Company using an innovative "friction stir welding" process.
In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, microwave 1 cup chips and sweetened condensed milk on high power, uncovered, 1 minute; stir.
Eclipse Aviation Corporation, manufacturer of the Eclipse 500 jet, today announced it has started the construction of a facility to house friction stir welding.
Slowly stir in cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, until sauce is clear and thickened.
Eclipse Aviation Corporation today announced that the FAA has approved the friction stir welding process specification created for use in the assembly of the Eclipse 500 jet.
Add butter and stir with a wooden spoon, letting butter melt completely.
Melt white chips and shortening in large, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium-high (70 percent) power 1 minute 30 seconds; stir until smooth.