Printable Version
Pronunciation: stæm-peed Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Verb

Meaning: A sudden rush of a large number of animals or people, trampling anything in its way.

Notes: This word may be used as a noun or a verb. "People stampeded through the doors of the store on Black Friday," works as well as, "There was a stampede when the doors of the store opened on Black Friday". The Calgary Stampede is actually a rodeo that has been held in Canada since 1912.

In Play: We don't encounter stampedes every day, but they do occur in modern urban life occasionally: "There is a stampede of people to buy each new version of the iPod." We usually hear a thunderous stamping of many hooves or feet when we use today's Good Word: "When the bell rang for recess, the children stampeded to all doors leading outside."

Word History: Today's Good Word came from south of the border, from Mexican Spanish estampida "stampede" from estampar "to stamp, press, pound". Late Latin apparently borrowed this word from the same Germanic root that yielded English stamp and step. The underlying Proto-Indo-European word must have contained a Fickle N (N would become M naturally before P.) Greek word stembein "to trample, misuse" derives from the same word. French and Spanish added an epithetical E before all words beginning in S followed by a consonant: ST, SC became EST, ESC. The S later dropped out of French (estamper "do down" became étamper "to stamp"), but Spanish retained it. (Let's not all stampede to thank William Hupy at once, but calmly proceed to show him our gratitude for suggesting today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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