A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1920

Stair. n.s. [ꞅꞇæᵹꞃ, Saxon; steghe, Dutch.] Steps by which we rise an ascent from the lower part of a building to the upper. Stair was anciently used for the whole order of steps; but stair now, if it be used at all, signifies, as in Milton, only one flight of steps.

A good builder to a high tower will not make his stair upright, but winding almost the full compass about, that the steepness be the more insensible. Sidney.

How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars!

Slaver with lips as common as the stairs
That mount the Capitol.

I would have one only goodly room above stairs, of some forty foot high. Bacon's Essays.

Sir James Tirrel repairing to the Tower by night, attended by two servants, stood at the stair-foot, and sent these two villains to execute the murder. Bacon.

There being good stairs at either end, they never went through each other's quarters. Clarendon.

The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
Angels ascending and descending.
Milton's Parad. Lost.

            Satan now on the lower stair,
That scal'd by steps of gold to heav'n gate,
Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
Of all this world.
Milton's Parad. Lost.

            Trembling he springs,
As terror had increas'd his feet with wings;
Nor staid for stairs; but down the depth he threw
His body: on his back the door he drew.

Sources: Bacon, Francis (396) · Clarendon, Edward (73) · Shakespeare's Cymbeline (73) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (83) · Milton, John (449) · Sidney, Philip (140)

Attributes: Dutch (90) · Noun Substantive (1269) · Saxon (215)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Stair." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: May 18, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/stair/.

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