1. a single step or degree in a process; a particular phase, period, position, etc., in a process, development, or series.
  2. a raised platform or floor, as for speakers, performers, etc.
  3. Theater.
    1. the platform on which the actors perform in a theater.
    2. this platform with all the parts of the theater and all the apparatus back of the proscenium.
  4. the stage, the theater, especially acting, as a profession: He plans to make the stage his career.
  5. Movies. sound stage.
  6. the scene of any action.
  7. a stagecoach.
  8. a place of rest on a journey; a regular stopping place of a stagecoach or the like, for the change of horses, mules, etc.
  9. the distance between two places of rest on a journey; each of the portions of a journey.
  10. a portion or period of a course of action, of life, etc.: the adolescent stage of human development.
  11. Entomology.
    1. any one of the major time periods in the development of an insect, as the embryonic, larval, pupal, and imaginal stages.
    2. Also called stadium.any one of the periods of larval growth between molts.
  12. Economics, Sociology. a major phase of the economic or sociological life of human beings or society: the patriarchal stage.
  13. Geology. a division of stratified rocks corresponding to a single geologic age.
  14. the small platform of a microscope on which the object to be examined is placed.
  15. Radio. an element in a complex mechanism, as a tube and its accessory structures in a multiple amplifier.
  16. Rocketry. a section of a rocket containing a rocket engine or cluster of rocket engines, usually separable from other such sections when its propellant is exhausted.

verb (used with object), staged, stag·ing.

  1. to represent, produce, or exhibit on or as if on a stage: The drama class staged a play during Christmas vacation.
  2. to furnish with a stage, staging, stage set, etc.
  3. to write, direct, or produce (a play) with the action taking place as if in a specified locale or time: He staged the fantasy on Mars in the year 2500.
  4. to plan, organize, or carry out (an activity), especially for dramatic or public effect: Workers staged a one-day strike.
  5. to classify the natural progression of (a disease, especially cancer).
  6. to prepare (a home) for sale in such a way as to appeal to potential buyers and generate a higher selling price: They were initially reluctant to hire someone to stage their apartment.

verb (used without object), staged, stag·ing.

  1. to be suitable for presentation or performance on the stage: The script didn’t stage well.
  2. to travel by stagecoach.
  1. by easy stages, working, traveling, etc., slowly, with frequent pauses; unhurriedly, with many stops; gradually.
  2. go on the stage, to become an actor, especially in the theater: She knew from the age of 12 that she would go on the stage.
  3. hold the stage,
    1. to continue to be produced, as a play or other theatrical production.
    2. to be the center of attention.
  4. on stage, performing, especially as an actor.

verb (tr)

  1. to produce or perform a new production of (a play)
  2. to organize or carry out (an event) again, esp if it has been cancelledattempts have been made to restage the race


  1. a distinct step or period of development, growth, or progressa child at the toddling stage
  2. a raised area or platform
  3. the platform in a theatre where actors perform
  4. the stage the theatre as a profession
  5. any scene regarded as a setting for an event or action
  6. a portion of a journey or a stopping place after such a portion
  7. short for stagecoach
  8. British a division of a bus route for which there is a fixed fare
  9. one of the separate propulsion units of a rocket that can be jettisoned when it has burnt outSee also multistage (def. 1)
  10. any of the various distinct periods of growth or development in the life of an organism, esp an insecta larval stage; pupal stage
  11. the organism itself at such a period of growth
  12. a small stratigraphical unit; a subdivision of a rock series or system
  13. the platform on a microscope on which the specimen is mounted for examination
  14. electronics a part of a complex circuit, esp one of a number of transistors with the associated elements required to amplify a signal in an amplifier
  15. a university subject studied for one academic yearStage II French
  16. by easy stages or in easy stages not hurriedlyhe learned French by easy stages


  1. (tr) to perform (a play), esp on a stagewe are going to stage “Hamlet”
  2. (tr) to set the action of (a play) in a particular time or place
  3. (tr) to plan, organize, and carry out (an event)
  4. (intr) obsolete to travel by stagecoach

mid-13c., “story of a building, raised floor for exhibitions,” from Old French estage “a story or floor of a building, stage for performance,” from Vulgar Latin *staticum “a place for standing,” from Latin statum, past participle of stare “to stand” (see stet). Meaning “platform for presentation of a play” is attested from late 14c.; generalized for “profession of an actor” from 1580s.

Sense of “period of development or time in life” first recorded early 14c., probably from Middle English sense of “degree or step on the ‘ladder’ of virtue, ‘wheel’ of fortune, etc.,” in parable illustrations and morality plays. Stage mother is from 1919. Stage-Door Johnny “young man who frequents stage doors seeking the company of actresses, chorus girls, etc.” is attested from 1912. Stage-struck is from 1813; earlier stage-smitten (1680s). Stage whisper first attested 1865.


early 14c., “to erect, construct,” from stage (n.). The meaning “to put (a play) on the stage” first recorded 1879; general sense of “to mount” (a comeback, etc.) is attested from 1924. Related: Staged; staging.


  1. A period in the course of a disease.
  2. The platform on a microscope that supports a slide for viewing.
  3. A particular step, phase, or position in a developmental process.


  1. To determine the extent or progression of.

In addition to the idioms beginning with stage

  • stage fright
  • stage whisper

also see:

  • at this stage
  • set the scene (stage) for
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