Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to stir: Stir frying
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
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!
See also: go
stir (one's) stumps
1. To start moving. "Stumps" are a slang term for "legs." You kids have been sitting around playing video games all day—it's time to get outside and stir your stumps!
2. To increase one's pace while doing some activity. Stir your stumps! We've got to move faster if we want to finish our run before sundown.
rude slang To cause trouble and conflict. Quit stirring shit! I know you're the one spreading rumors about me! Somebody is bound to stir shit at Thanksgiving dinner—it happens every year.
straw that stirs the drink
The most valuable or important person or thing in a system. The phrase is usually attributed to baseball player Reggie Jackson. In this law firm, Ed may think that he's the straw that stirs the drink, but there are plenty of other lawyers that we could replace him with. Ever since Jeannie found out she got the lead in the play, she's been acting like the straw that stirs the drink.
you should know a man seven years before you stir his fire
In interactions with people you don't know well, you should behave with caution and avoid meddling in their affairs. Mother, you don't know Sir Harold well enough to inquire about his personal life. Remember: you should know a man seven years before you stir his fire.
cause a stir
To incite trouble or excitement. My best friend's pink hair caused quite a stir at our very strict school. This band has caused a stir with teenagers all across the nation—screaming fans greet them everywhere they go!
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.
1. To stir something with a tool or utensil, especially to mix together its ingredients or parts. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "stir" and "up." He stirred the mixture up before pouring it out into the mold. Make sure to stir up the curry before you serve it.
2. To create as a result of stirring or agitating, or to cause to become churned or distributed in a chaotic way. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "stir" and "up." Stop it, your stirring up a whole cloud of soot doing that! You're probably sneezing because the wind has been stirring up all the pollen.
3. To rouse, incite, or provoke something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "stir" and "up." Quit stirring up trouble! The mayor has been stirring up controversy again with another inflammatory remark. The old movie stirred emotions up in me that I'd long forgotten.
4. To incense, agitate, or anger someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "stir" and "up." He's just attempting to stir up his followers and distract from the scandal. Nothing stirs my students up as much as when I assign homework over the weekend.
stir (one's) blood
To put one into a state of extreme excitement, enthusiasm, or determination. The president's famous speech still stirs my blood to this day. The show ends with a rousing musical number that is sure to stir your blood!
stir the blood
To put someone into a state of extreme excitement, enthusiasm, or determination. The president's famous speech still stirs the blood to this day. The show ends with a rousing musical number that is sure to stir the blood!
stir the possum
To instigate or propagate something controversial, incendiary, or divisive. Primarily heard in Australia. The MP has been accused of stirring the possum with her social media post about the evils of same-sex marriage. I know this is likely to stir the possum, but I have to say my piece about how spoilt and sheltered kids are today.
cause a commotion
To incite trouble or excitement. My best friend's pink hair caused quite a commotion at our very strict school. This band has caused a commotion with teenagers all across the nation—screaming fans greet them everywhere they go!
To combine something into a liquid, substance, or mixture by stirring. A noun or pronoun can be used between "stir" and "in." You need to stir the oil in very slowly so that it mixes properly with the egg yolks. She stirred in a bit of honey to make the medicine taste a little better.
stir up a hornet's nest
1. To create, provoke, or trigger a dangerous, troublesome, or complicated situation. The government's military interventions really just stirred up a hornet's nest in the region.
2. To provoke or instigate a lot of very angry or offended reactions. The politician's off-the-cuff remark about pollution stirred up a hornet's nest among environmentalists.
1. To mix or move something around in or as in a liquid suspension, especially to mix together its ingredients or parts. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "stir" and "around." He stirred the mixture around before pouring it out into the mold. I stirred around the ingredients with a large wooden spoon. She put the flowers in the vase and stirred them around to freshen them up a bit.
2. To move or shift around (some place) in slight or irregular motions. He stirred around restlessly, clearly discomfited by her questions. She stirred around the office for a bit, before finally picking up a folder that contained my file in it.
stir into (something)
1. To combine something into a liquid, substance, or mixture by stirring. A noun or pronoun is used between "stir" and "into." You need to stir the oil into the whisked egg yolks very slowly or the mixture will separate. She stirred a bit of honey into the medicine to make it taste a little better.
2. To excite, rouse, or provoke someone into some state or condition. A noun or pronoun is used between "stir" and "into." The politician stirred the crowd into a frenzy with her rhetoric. His invigorating words stirred us all into action.
stir to (something)
1. To cause liquid, substance, or mixture to enter some state by stirring. A noun or pronoun is used between "stir" and "to." He stirred the milk to a steaming froth. You must stir the mixture to a thick, viscous consistency before it is ready to be spread on the cake.
2. To excite, rouse, or provoke someone into some state or condition. A noun or pronoun is used between "stir" and "to." The politician stirred the crowd to a frenzy with her rhetoric. His invigorating words stirred us all to action.
cause (quite) a stirand 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.
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.
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.
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.
stir something into somethingand stir something in
to mix something into something. The painter stirred too much red pigment into the paint. The painter stirred in the pigment.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
stir up a hornet's nest
If you stir up a hornet's nest, you do something that makes a lot of people very upset and angry. He has been asking a lot of questions and stirring up a hornet's nest around town. I seem to have stirred up a hornet's nest with my article about the teaching of Shakespeare in schools. Note: Sometimes people just talk about a hornet's nest. It's not that companies are unaware of illegal software. It's more that they are scared of uncovering a hornet's nest — they would simply rather not know. Wasserman had no idea what a hornet's nest he was stepping into. Note: A hornet is a large wasp with a powerful sting.
stir the possumstir up controversy; liven things up. Australian informal
stir your stumps(of a person) begin to move or act. British informal , dated
Stump has been used as an informal term for ‘leg’ since the 15th century; the expression itself dates from the mid 16th century.
cause/create a ˈstirmake a number of people feel interest, excitement or shock: His sudden resignation caused quite a stir.
stir somebody’s/the ˈbloodmake somebody excited or enthusiastic: His political speeches are designed to stir the blood.
stir your ˈstumps(old-fashioned, British English, informal) begin to move; hurry: You stir your stumps and get ready for school, my girl!
Stump is an informal word for ‘leg’.
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.
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.
n. prison. (Underworld.) I can’t stand being in stir!
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.