The Meaning of Sturdy: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of sturdy? This guide will give you all of the information you need on the word sturdy, including its meaning, usage, origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word sturdy mean?

According to Merriam-Webster and Dictionary, the English word sturdy, pronounced “ˈstɜrdi” has a couple of different meanings. The first definition of sturdy means that something is strong or strongly built, specifically when referring to construction. One might refer to a wall or a table as sturdy. This word can also mean that something is hardy, has rugged physical strength, or is strongly grown, like a plant or a person. Finally, the word sturdy can also refer to someone who is courageous or indomitable.

The word sturdy is an adjective. Adjectives are words that describe people, places, and things. There are a couple of variations on the word study. Sturdily is the adverb form of sturdy. Adverbs are words that describe actions. The noun form of sturdy is sturdiness. A noun is a person, place, or thing.

What is the etymology of the word sturdy?

According to Etymonline, the use of the word sturdy to mean solid, strong or hardy first came into popularity in the late 14th century, along with the related words sturdily, sturdiness, sturdier, and sturdiest, which is the superlative form of the word. This word comes from the Old French estourdi, which in Modern French is étourdi, which came from estourdir meaning violent or dazed. This was the past participle of estordiir, which came from Vulgar Latin exturdire. Some believe this is from the Latin intensive prefix ex- coupled with the Latin turdus. These were brought together to make ex turdus. Some compare the word sturdy to the Latin word torpidus, which meant dull.

How can the word sturdy be used in a sentence?

There are a few different ways that the word sturdy can be used in a sentence since it has a few different meanings. The first way sturdy can be used is to describe an object. In this first example, Dori is reading the book The Three Little Pigs to her little sister Grace.

Dori: The first pig had a house made of straw. The wolf blew that down. The second pig had a house made of sticks. The wolf blew that down. The third pig had a house made of bricks. The wolf huffed and puffed as hard as he could, but he could not blow the third little pig’s house down.

Grace: Why?

Dori: Because bricks are much more sturdy than straw or sticks. That means that the third pig’s house was very strong, while the other pigs’ houses were weak.

Here, Dori uses the word sturdy to describe the third little pig’s house. In this next example, Dori is getting ready for a double date with her friend Candace. She is frustrated with the outfits she is trying on.

Dori: I hate all of these. I’m too fat for this.

Candace: First of all, you are NOT fat. You are one of the strongest people I know. Feel this bicep– that’s sturdy! Second of all, you have looked amazing in every single one of these outfits. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

Dori: Maybe you’re right.

Here, Candace uses the word sturdy to describe Dori’s strong bicep. In this last example, Dori is giving a presentation to her class on the pioneers.

Dori: The pioneers had to be sturdy to withstand harsh winters, little food, and diseases. They didn’t have medicine like we do today that could help them.

Classmate: They had to be sturdy?

Dori: Yeah, they had to have a strong constitution and be really brave and really healthy to make it through.

Classmate: Oh, I get it now.

Here, Dori uses the word sturdy to describe the pioneers and the bravery and robust health they had to have in order to survive. The word sturdy can be used in a plethora of different ways to describe things that are strong both literally and figuratively.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word sturdy?

If one wishes to describe something as strong or solid but does not want to use the word sturdy, they could use a synonym. A synonym is a word that means the same thing as another word or phrase. One might choose to use a synonym to avoid repeating oneself, or to expand their vocabulary. People could also choose to say the word sturdy in a different language, like robusto in Italian, sólido in Spanish, or robuste in French. The below list of synonyms for the word sturdy is from Thesaurus.

  • husky
  • strapping
  • stout
  • hearty
  • hefty
  • well-made
  • firm
  • powerful
  • built to last
  • strong
  • hulking
  • muscular
  • well-built
  • staunch
  • tenacious
  • steadfast
  • strong-arm
  • substantial
  • determined
  • vigorous
  • athletic
  • stouthearted
  • durable
  • powerhouse
  • secure
  • lusty
  • sound
  • rugged
  • tough
  • unyielding
  • flourishing
  • solid
  • robust
  • bulky
  • stalwart
  • stiff
  • hardy
  • resolute

But what if someone wants to describe something that is the opposite of sturdy? In this case, that person should use an antonym. An antonym is a word that means the opposite of a given word or phrase. A list of antonyms to the word sturdy is below, also provided by Thesaurus.

  • gentle
  • shattery
  • hairline
  • filmy
  • elegant
  • dainty
  • fragile
  • choice
  • fine
  • superior
  • aerial
  • finespun
  • rare
  • delectable
  • delicate
  • subdued
  • gauzy
  • flimsy
  • fracturable
  • soft
  • fine-grained
  • pastel
  • balmy
  • delightful
  • frail
  • ethereal
  • tender
  • muted
  • pale
  • frangible
  • faint
  • shatterable
  • delicious
  • slight
  • mild
  • nice
  • breakable
  • select
  • gossamery
  • subtle
  • weak
  • graceful
  • exquisite

Overall, the word sturdy means that something is strong or harty, whether in a figurative or literal sense. One can use the word sturdy to describe people or things, but can also use them to describe someone’s emotional state or countenance. The word sturdy is an adjective which means it is used to describe people, places, and things.