• A widely diffused vegetable substance, found especially in seeds, bulbs and tubers, as extracted (e.g. from potatoes, corn, rice, etc.) in the form of a white, glistening, granular or powdery substance, without taste or smell, and giving a very peculiar creaking sound when rubbed between the fingers. It is used as a food, in the production of commercial grape sugar, for stiffening linen in laundries, in making paste, etc.
  • Carbohydrates, as with grain and potato based foods.
  • A stiff, formal manner; formality.
  • Fortitude.
  • Any of various starch-like substances used as a laundry stiffener


  • To apply or treat with laundry starch, to create a hard, smooth surface.



  • From Middle English starche, sterche, from Old English *stierċe, from Proto-West Germanic *starkī, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *sterg-. Cognate with dialectal Dutch sterk, Middle Low German sterke, German Stärke, Swedish stärkelse, Icelandic sterkja. Related to English stark.

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