Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Then he tried to stop up the entrance to their den with his coat, so that he could catch them.

And what can it be, that can so fill thy mind as to stop up all its entrances?

I'm to stop up half an hour later than Peter, Rona; do you hear that?

We shall cease then to stop up the street, and you can go on your way with your bier.

Then we had to stop up the holes with anything we had, and patch the paper as best we could.

As it would have been difficult to stop up the hole, we allowed it to remain.

"I thought he meant to stop up at Oxford and take pupils," said Mary.

To render the blockade effectual, it was requisite to stop up the port.

The tinker too with mettle, Said he could mend her kettle,And stop up every leak.

It was not difficult then to stop up the orifice with a little fat.


Old English -stoppian (in forstoppian "to stop up, stifle"), a general West Germanic word (cf. West Frisian stopje, Middle Low German stoppen, Old High German stopfon, German stopfen "to plug, stop up," Old Low Frankish (be)stuppon "to stop (the ears)"), but held by many sources to be a borrowing from Vulgar Latin *stuppare "to stop or stuff with tow or oakum" (cf. Italian stoppare, French étouper "to stop with tow"), from Latin stuppa "coarse part of flax, tow." Plugs made of tow were used from ancient times in Rhine valley. Barnhart, at least, proposes the whole Germanic group rather might be native, from a base *stoppon.

Sense of "bring or come to a halt" (mid-15c.) is from notion of preventing a flow by blocking a hole, and the word's development in this sense is unique to English, though it since has been widely adopted in other languages; perhaps influenced by Latin stupere "be stunned, be stupefied." Stop-and-go (adj.) is from 1926, originally a reference to traffic signals.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.