stay

1) As a verb it could mean to be delayed, as by bad weather and floods.

1488 I wyll thay take in aged folke ... for a neght logyng, or lange, and [if] tha be weder sted or seke, Ingleby Arncliffe

1708 passengers, horsemen as well as footmen must of necessity either stay the falling of the water or else are forced to goe over to the great hazard of their lives, Buckden. More generally it was to prevent, delay, hold back: 1575 the people will not be staied from ringing the bells on All Saints daie, Weaverham

1586 I stayed the suyte I had already commenced against him, Woodsome

1688 took holde of her Apron and staid her, Rotherham. In some contexts the meaning ‘hold back’ was more threatening: 1670 he asked who it was ... I answered one that would stay him ... having an iron forke in my hand said unto him ... that I would stab him, Thurgoland.

dates 1488 1575 1586 1670 1688 1708

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2) Support or maintenance, used in the phrase ‘stay of living’ in marriage contracts.

1603 and for some staie of living for John and Anne during the lieff of the said Robert Kaie, Woodsome

1704 for their better support and stay of liveing, Adwalton.

dates 1603 1704

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3) A regional spelling of ‘staithe’ which captures the dialect pronunciation.

1567 le comon stay called lee Burges stay … abutting on the water of Idyll, Bawtry. Bawtry was an important medieval port.

places Bawtry
dates 1567

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0