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Dictionary entry overview: What does stand still mean?

STAND STILL (verb) The verb STAND STILL has 1 sense:


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remain in place; hold still; remain fixed or immobile


Familiarity information: STAND STILL used as a verb is very rare.

Dictionary entry details

• STAND STILL (verb)



Remain in place; hold still; remain fixed or immobile

Classified under:

Verbs of walking, flying, swimming

Context example:

Traffic stood still when the funeral procession passed by

Troponyms (each of the following is one way to "stand still"):

freeze; stop dead (stop moving or become immobilized)

bog down; get stuck; grind to a halt; mire (be unable to move further)

Sentence frames:

Something ----sSomebody ----s


move (move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion)


standstill (a situation in which no progress can be made or no advancement is possible)

Context examples

And then he saw Her, under the lights, between her brother and the strange young man with glasses, and his heart seemed to stand still.

(Martin Eden, by Jack London)

He could hardly stand still so great was his mental agitation, and he ran towards Holmes with two eager hands outstretched.

(The Return of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Nothing remained but to stand still and accept the indignity.

(The Sea-Wolf, by Jack London)

I felt my hair rise like bristles on the back of my neck, and my heart seemed to stand still.

(Dracula, by Bram Stoker)

But not being at that time in a disposition to philosophise upon this phenomenon, I rather chose to observe what course the island would take, because it seemed for awhile to stand still.

(Gulliver's Travels into several remote nations of the world, by Jonathan Swift)

For a minute Jo stood still with a strange feeling in her heart, then she resolved to go on, but something held and turned her round, just in time to see Amy throw up her hands and go down, with a sudden crash of rotten ice, the splash of water, and a cry that made Jo"s heart stand still with fear.

(Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott)

What evenings, when the candles came, and I was expected to employ myself, but, not daring to read an entertaining book, pored over some hard-headed, harder-hearted treatise on arithmetic; when the tables of weights and measures set themselves to tunes, as Rule Britannia, or Away with Melancholy; when they wouldn"t stand still to be learnt, but would go threading my grandmother"s needle through my unfortunate head, in at one ear and out at the other!

(David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens)

“I had only my own family to study from. There is my father—another of my father—but the idea of sitting for his picture made him so nervous, that I could only take him by stealth; neither of them very like therefore. Mrs. Weston again, and again, and again, you see. Dear Mrs. Weston! always my kindest friend on every occasion. She would sit whenever I asked her. There is my sister; and really quite her own little elegant figure!—and the face not unlike. I should have made a good likeness of her, if she would have sat longer, but she was in such a hurry to have me draw her four children that she would not be quiet. Then, here come all my attempts at three of those four children;—there they are, Henry and John and Bella, from one end of the sheet to the other, and any one of them might do for any one of the rest. She was so eager to have them drawn that I could not refuse; but there is no making children of three or four years old stand still you know; nor can it be very easy to take any likeness of them, beyond the air and complexion, unless they are coarser featured than any of mama"s children ever were. Here is my sketch of the fourth, who was a baby. I took him as he was sleeping on the sofa, and it is as strong a likeness of his cockade as you would wish to see. He had nestled down his head most conveniently. That"s very like. I am rather proud of little George. The corner of the sofa is very good. Then here is my last,”—unclosing a pretty sketch of a gentleman in small size, whole-length—“my last and my best—my brother, Mr. John Knightley.

(Emma, by Jane Austen)

God has given us, in a measure, the power to make our own fate; and when our energies seem to demand a sustenance they cannot get—when our will strains after a path we may not follow—we need neither starve from inanition, nor stand still in despair: we have but to seek another nourishment for the mind, as strong as the forbidden food it longed to taste—and perhaps purer; and to hew out for the adventurous foot a road as direct and broad as the one Fortune has blocked up against us, if rougher than it.

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(Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë)

He was seeking a new orientation, and until that was found his life must stand still.

(Martin Eden, by Jack London)

"Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom." (English proverb)"There is no death, only a change of worlds." (Native American proverb, Duwamish)"If you conduct yourself properly, fear no one." (Arabic proverb)"Think before acting and whilst acting still think." (Dutch proverb)