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The device probably originated in the Asian steppes around the 2nd century bc, and was of great military value. The word comes (in Old English) from the Germanic base of obsolete sty ‘climb’ + rope, indicating that the original stirrup must have been a looped rope.

hold the stirrup (as in helping a person to mount) indicates an expression of homage or reverence.

stirrup cup a cup of wine or other alcoholic drink offered to a person on horseback who is about to depart on a journey.

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