General English

  • noun a little loop of thread made with a needle in sewing or with knitting needles when knitting
  • noun a small loop of thread used by a surgeon to attach the sides of a wound together to help it to heal
  • verb to attach something with a needle and thread

Information & Library Science

  • verb to bind the pages of a book, pamphlet or other publication with thread or staples


  • noun pain caused by cramp in the side of the body after running


  • noun something funny, a source of hilarity. A typically middle-class and preppie term derived from the expression ‘to be in stitches’.


  • noun cramp in the side of the abdomen caused e.g. by exercising

Origin & History of “stitch”

Stitch was originally a noun, meaning ‘sting, prick’ (a sense which survives in the very specialized application to a ‘pain in the side, caused by exertion’). It came from a prehistoric Germanic *stikiz, which was formed from the base *stik- ‘pierce, prick’ (source also of English stick). Its use as a verb, denoting ‘join with thread by piercing with a needle’, emerged at the beginning of the 13th century, and the sewing sense fed back into the noun.