Word Confusion: Stamp versus Stomp

Posted October 2, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

It’s easy to understand how stamp and stomp get confused, since stomp is an American variant of the former. Except. Yes, there’s almost always an exception.

Stomp is limited to an action, a step. And remember that the noun form of stomp still refers to the dance steps.

So don’t go mixin’ up stamping an envelope, typeclassing someone, crushing ore, or legitimizing a visit to another country with stomping.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Stamp Stomp
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: stamp and stomp

A pink postage stamp showing the profile of King Rama V in 1884

“Thai Postage Stamp First Issue” is Lerdsuwa’s own work and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A soldier is about to stomp on another lying on the ground

“Marines Stomp Combat Boot” by Pfc. Monroe F. Seigle is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Despite the title, this is part of a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training program in which an axe stomp is one of the moves.

Part of Grammar:
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: stamps
Past tense or past participle: stamped
Gerund or present participle: stamping

Noun 1 and 2;
Verb, intransitive 3 & transitive 4

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: stomps
Past tense or past participle: stomped
Gerund or present participle: stomping

An instrument for stamping a pattern or mark, in particular an engraved or inked block or die

  • A mark or pattern made by a stamping instrument, especially one indicating official validation or certification
  • A characteristic or distinctive impression or quality
  • A particular class or type or person or thing
  • An act or instance of stamping

A small adhesive piece of paper stuck to something to show that an amount of money has been paid, in particular a postage stamp

  • An official mark indicating genuineness, validity, etc., or payment of a duty or charge

An act or sound of stamping with the foot

A block for crushing ore in a stamp mill

Verb, intransitive:
Bring down one’s foot heavily on the ground or on something on the ground

  • Walk with heavy, forceful steps

Verb, transitive:
Bring down one’s foot heavily on the ground or on something on the ground

  • Crush, flatten, or remove with a heavy blow from one’s feet

Impress a pattern or mark, especially an official one, on a surface, object, or document using an engraved or inked block or die or other instrument

  • Impress a pattern or mark on something by engraving or inking
  • Make something by cutting it out with a die or mold
  • Reveal or mark out as having a particular character, quality, or ability

Affix a postage stamp or stamps onto a letter or package

Crush or pulverize ore

[Informal; in jazz or popular music] A tune or song with a fast tempo and a heavy beat 1

  • A lively dance performed to popular music, involving forceful steps

A student who wears cowboy clothing and boots 2
Verb, intransitive:
Tread heavily and noisily, typically in order to show anger

  • [Stomp on] Tread heavily or stamp on
  • Dance with heavy stamping steps

Verb, transitive:
Tread heavily and noisily, typically in order to show anger

  • [Chiefly US] Deliberately trample or tread heavily on
  • Stamp one’s feet

To assault viciously 4

  • Savage
  • Clobber
Has anyone seen my return address stamp?

You should see Margaret’s collection of stamps!

I know, I know. It’s an obsession of mine to collect visa stamps in my passport from all over the world.

The Stamp Act gave impetus to the Revolutionary War.

The emperor gave them his stamp of approval.

The whole project has the stamp of authority.

The empiricism of this stamp has been especially influential in British philosophy.

I’m sorry, but this package requires a first-class stamp.

He was a great man who left his stamp on legal procedure.

Florence Nightingale was a woman of serious stamp.

Miriam feared the stamp of boots on the bare floor.

Roman mines saw the widest application of stamp mills in ancient times.

Verb, intransitive:
He threw his cigarette down and stamped on it.

John stamped off, muttering.

Verb, transitive:
He stamped his foot in frustration.

Robertson stamped on all these suggestions.

She stamped the snow from her boots.

The woman finally stamped my passport.

Each key has a number stamped on the shaft and can only be replicated at the dealership.

It’s one of those records that has classic stamped all over it.

The knives are stamped out from a flat strip of steel.

His style stamps him as a player to watch.

Annie stamped the envelope for her.

The mill is stamping out 40 tons of ore a day.

The jitterbug is an excellent example of stomping.

Nritta and Kathakali are examples of classic Indian dances that include stomping.

Ragtime, swing, Dixieland, and boogie woogie involve vigorous stomping.

Many tribal dances involve stomping one’s feet.

Despite their cries for individuality, hippies put down fellow students, stomps, for their clinging to the 1940s and 50s fashions for Western wear.

Verb, intransitive:
Jake stomped off, angry that Esmeralda was flirting with Paul.

I stomped on the accelerator.

Stomping with clogs can be energizing or exhausting.

Verb, transitive:
Cobb proceeded to kick and stomp him viciously.

People were standing around, stomping their feet, and rubbing their hands.

The little boy stomped his feet and screamed at his mother.

The crowd stomped their feet to show their approval.

Adjective: nonstampable, stampable, stampless
Noun: prestamp, stamper
Verb, transitive: misstamp, prestamp
Adjective: stompy
Noun: stomper
Phrasal Verb
stamp something out
History of the Word:
Middle English, in the sense of crush to a powder, is of Germanic origin and related to the German stampfen meaning stamp with the foot. This is reinforced by the Old French estamper meaning to stamp. 1 Jazz slang in 1912 as a variant on the verb stamp.

2 First known use: 1960s

3 1803 (and originally US dialect), as a variant on the verb stamp.

4 First known use: 1946+

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Jitterbug Wolcott FSA by Marion Post Wolcott and Ev’rybody Shimmies Now are lyrics by Eugene West and music by Joe Gold and Edmund J. Porray (University of Colorado). Both are in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.