1. Place, or spot, in general. [Obs., except in composition.] Chaucer.
"Fly, therefore, fly this fearful stead anon." -- Spenser.
2. Place or room which another had, has, or might have. "Stewards of your steads." Piers Plowman.
"In stead of bounds, he a pillar set." -- Chaucer.
3. A frame on which a bed is laid; a bedstead. [R.]
"The genial bed, Sallow the feet, the borders, and the stead." -- Dryden.
4. A farmhouse and offices. [Prov. Eng. & Scot.]
The word is now commonly used as the last part of a compound; as, farmstead, homestead, readstead, etc.
In stead of
in place of. See Instead.
To stand in stead
or To do stead
to be of use or great advantage.
"The smallest act . . . shall stand us in great stead." -- Atterbury.
"Here thy sword can do thee little stead." -- Milton.