v. stared, star·ing, stares
To look directly, fixedly, or vacantly, often with a wide-eyed gaze. See Synonyms at gaze.
To look at directly and fixedly: stared him in the eyes.
An intent gaze.
1. To stare at (a person or animal) until that person or animal blinks or turns away.
2. To confront boldly or overcome by direct action: stared down his opponents.
stare in the face
1. To be plainly visible or obvious to (one); force itself on (one's) attention: The money on the table was staring her in the face.
2. To be obvious to (one) though initially overlooked: The explanation had been staring him in the face all along.
3. To be imminent or unavoidable to (one): Bankruptcy now stares us in the face.
4. To be about to experience or undergo (something dire): We are staring bankruptcy in the face.
[Middle English staren, from Old English starian; see ster-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.