stag is an adult male deer and also the male of various other mammals. Informally, we call a man who goes to a party without a female partner a stag. The verb expression go stag is related to this and, informally and in US English, it means ‘to go to a social gathering without a partner.’ As an adjective, stag means ‘of men or for men only’ and, as an adverb, stag means ‘without a companion.’

Example sentences

Words often used with stag

stag show: a show intended for male audiences which may be pornographic. Example: “The teenagers’ mother was furious when she found out they’d been to a stag show.”

Origin

Stag dates back to the mid-12th century in the form of the Old English stagga, which became the Middle English stagge. It can be traced back to the Proto-Germanic word stag, which probably meant ‘male animal in its prime,’ and the Proto-Indo-European root stegh-, which meant ‘to prick or sting.’ It is related to the Old Norse steggisteggr, which was used of male foxes, tomcats, birds and dragons, the North-English dialect steg (gander), and the Icelandic steggur (male fox, tomcat). The adjective meaning ‘for or made up of males only,’ and its related noun and verb, date back to the mid-19th century, and first appeared in American slang.

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