According to Longman, they are the same, but I wonder if this is correct or if so, which one is more common.

For example:

  • Dave stooped down to tie his shoes.
  • Dave stooped to tie his shoes.
  • 3
    Yeah. It's the same as the difference between sat and sat down.
    – Robusto
    Mar 6 '13 at 20:49

The subtle difference is a matter of context. In your examples, one can infer that when Dave "stooped" to tie his shoes, he performed the same motion as when he "stooped down" to tie his shoes. But if you say, "He walked stooped over", that conjures up a slightly different image as someone bent at the back with age or infirmity.

Stooped down:

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Stooped over:

enter image description here

  • 1
    I didn't know that "stoop down" was different from "stoop over". So according to you examples, when we stoop over, we don't bend our knees and when we stoop down, we bend our knees. Mar 6 '13 at 21:55
  • @user37612, that's a very good explanation and exactly how I would describe the difference. (Bear in mind that I am basing this on how I've used the two phrases throughout my life (US Midwest). As I've learned from this site, words can take on completely different meanings in other english-speaking parts of the world. Don't you love language? :-) Mar 6 '13 at 22:57
  • 1
    It is exactly because of the differences that I love languages. If the language were the same in every part of the world, this could be too boring :) Mar 6 '13 at 23:03
  • 1
    You've done a great job of describing the differences between Definitions #1 and #2 at Collins. I wouldn't stoop so low as to downvote your answer, but I'm not convinced this is the difference between stoop and stoop down – it's just two different ways to stoop. I will agree, though, that stoop down seems interchangable with stoop when describing the "crouch", but stoop down doesn't seem appropriate to use instead of stoop when describing the "hunch." So, we're not too far apart in this matter.
    – J.R.
    Mar 6 '13 at 23:30
  • @J.R., I've been sitting on my front stoop pondering this question and you, too, hit it right -while "stoop" can be used to mean "crouch" or "bend over", "stoop down" seems to be limited to "crouch". Mar 6 '13 at 23:44

At least among Blues aficionados, "stoop down" has very distinct (and lascivious) connotations that "stoop" does not, thanks to Chick Willis's classic song from 1972, "Stoop Down, Baby (Let your Daddy See)."

In Willis's song "stoop down" serves both as a verb (referring to positioning oneself for having sex) and as a noun (referring to female genitalia). You can read about the 21-minute album version of "Stoop Down" at http://www.franklarosa.com/vinyl/Exhibit.jsp?AlbumID=49, which also shows the cover of the album, featuring five photos of Willis pretending to play a guitar and a miniskirted lady who appears to be doing a dance version of the Stoop Down. YouTube has the much-shortened (6 minutes, 33 seconds) version of Willis's song (cut to fit both sides of 45-rpm record) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWE5pw4RJg4.

I haven't been able to determine whether "stoop down" was a common euphemism in Black American slang of the early 1970s prior to "Stoop Down Baby," or whether Willis invented the euphemism himself—but perhaps others here are more knowledgeable than I am on this point.

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