Stoop To

Also:

Stoop to (doing something)
Stoop to (someone’s level)

Meaning of Idiom ‘Stoop To’

To stoop to something means to do do something that degrades one, is beneath one’s dignity, or that one finds reprehensible. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.,3Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries. The American Heritage Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Examples Of Use

“I never thought such a respected detective would stoop to blackmail.”

“When John told lies on me I was tempted to do the same thing to him but I decided not to stoop to his level.”

“He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Who would have thought he would stoop to fabricating sources?”

“I know you’re angry at Peter but don’t stoop to his level.”

“There is nothing most politicians won’t stoop to in order to stay in power and make money off their positions.”

Origin

Used since the second half of the 1500’s. 4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

The verb stoop, today, means to bend one’s body forward as well as to bend the knees while bending forward. 4The allusion in this idiom would seem to fit quite well with this modern usage. However, it may have arisen from an older meaning of stoop, ‘to descend from a superior rank, dignity, or status.’ Stoop, in this expression, refers figuratively to lowering oneself.

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
3. Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries. The American Heritage Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.