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  • From Middle English stale, of uncertain etymology, but probably originally from Proto-Germanic *stāną: compare West Flemish stel in the same sense for ‘beer’ and ‘urine’.
  • From Middle English stale, from Old English stalu, from Proto-Germanic *stal-. The development was paralleled by the ablaut which became steal, from Middle English stele, from Old English stela, from Proto-Germanic *stel-. The latter also produced Ancient Greek στελεός and Latin stēla, which became stele and stela.
  • From Middle English stale, from Old French estal ("place, something placed") (compare French étal), from Frankish, from Proto-Germanic *stallaz, earlier *staþlaz. Related to stall and stand.
  • Noun from Middle English stale, from Anglo-Norman estal. Verb from Middle English stalen, from Old French estaler, related to Middle High German stallen ("to piss").
  • From Middle English stale, probably from uncommon Anglo-Norman estale ("pigeon used to lure hawks"), ultimately from Proto-Germanic, probably *standaną. Compare Old English stælhran ("decoy reindeer") and Northumbrian stællo.

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