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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Steer \Steer\, n. [AS. ste['o]r, sti['o]r; akin to D. stuur, G. steuer, Icel. st[=y]ri. [root]168. See Steer, v. t.] A rudder or helm. [Obs.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

unit of the metric system for solid measure, 1798, from French stère "unit of volume equal to one cubic meter," from Greek stereos "solid, stiff, firm," from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff, rigid" (see stereo-). Little used, cubic meter generally serving instead.


n. A measure of volume used e.g. for cut wood, equal to one cubic meter.


The stere or stère is a unit of volume in the original metric system equal to one cubic metre. The name was coined from the Greek στερεός stereos, "solid", in 1793 France as a metric analogue to the cord. The stère is typically used for measuring large quantities of firewood or other cut wood, while the cubic meter is used for uncut wood. It is not part of the modern metric system (SI).

In Dutch, there is also a kuub, short for kubieke meter which differs from a stere. Whereas a "kuub" is a solid cubic metre, as it was traditionally used for wood, a stère is a cubic metre pile of woodblocks. A stère is less than a kuub or full cubic metre of wood, because the spaces between the woodblocks are included in a stère, while they do not count towards a kuub. In Finnish, the same unit is known as motti (from Swedish mått, "measure").

Note that the stère as used in contexts outside the timber industry is not subject to the same ambiguity. In particular, stère and kilostère are sometimes used in hydrology, as the kilostere is a slightly larger metric analog of an acre-foot, similar to the relationship of the tonne and (short) ton.

Usage examples of "stere".

By the tip of the eye it saw that Zack approached the stere and chose discs that were placing in the tray.

But natheless she took in good intent The will of Christ, and kneeling on the strond* *strand, shore She saide, "Lord, aye welcome be thy sond* *whatever thou sendest "He that me kepte from the false blame, While I was in the land amonges you, He can me keep from harm and eke from shame In the salt sea, although I see not how As strong as ever he was, he is yet now, In him trust I, and in his mother dere, That is to me my sail and eke my stere.

For else my feeble vessell crazd, and cracktThrough thy strong buffets and outrageous blowes,Cannot endure, but needs it must be wracktOn the rough rocks, or on the sandy shallowes,The whiles that loue it steres, and fortune rowes.