Staid vs stayed

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Staid is an adjective that means settled, unadventurous, sedate, steady of character. Staid is usually employed to signify someone stodgy or dull. The adverb form is staidly, the noun form is staidness. Staid as an adjectival use of the past participle stayed came about in the 1540s, within a decade it came to mean sober and sedate.

Stayed is the past participle of the verb stay, meaning to remain in the same place, to reside in a dwelling, often meant temporarily.  In South Africa and Scotland, stay may mean a place where one lives permanently. Stay can also mean to delay leaving. The word stay appears in the middle of the fifteenth century, meaning cease going forward, halt, detain, hold back. Stay comes from the Old French estare, meaning to stay or stand, by way of the Latin word stare, meaning to stand, stand still, remain standing, be erect, stand firm, stand firm in battle, be unmovable, linger. Stay with the meaning to reside as a guest for a short period is first recorded in the 1570s.


One of the most surprising things to emerge during the research for the National Post’s in-depth profile of Stephen Harper is that — without fail —friend and foe alike said the staid Conservative leader has a unique penchant for comedy. (The National Post)

Both are staid, quintessentially British brands. (The New Indian Express)

Creator supreme Clayton Donaldson has reflected on Birmingham City’s bright start to the season and declared: I’m glad I stayed! (The Birmingham Mail)

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Rajasthan high court order banning Jain community from practicing Santhara, a ritual by which community members towards the last part of their lives give up food. (The Times of India)

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