What does stay mean?

Definitions for stay

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word stay.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. staynoun

    continuing or remaining in a place or state

    "they had a nice stay in Paris"; "a lengthy hospital stay"; "a four-month stay in bankruptcy court"

  2. arrest, check, halt, hitch, stay, stop, stoppagenoun

    the state of inactivity following an interruption

    "the negotiations were in arrest"; "held them in check"; "during the halt he got some lunch"; "the momentary stay enabled him to escape the blow"; "he spent the entire stop in his seat"

  3. staynoun

    a judicial order forbidding some action until an event occurs or the order is lifted

    "the Supreme Court has the power to stay an injunction pending an appeal to the whole Court"

  4. staynoun

    a thin strip of metal or bone that is used to stiffen a garment (e.g. a corset)

  5. stayverb

    (nautical) brace consisting of a heavy rope or wire cable used as a support for a mast or spar

  6. stay, remain, restverb

    stay the same; remain in a certain state

    "The dress remained wet after repeated attempts to dry it"; "rest assured"; "stay alone"; "He remained unmoved by her tears"; "The bad weather continued for another week"

  7. stay, stick, stick around, stay putverb

    stay put (in a certain place)

    "We are staying in Detroit; we are not moving to Cincinnati"; "Stay put in the corner here!"; "Stick around and you will learn something!"

  8. bide, abide, stayverb


    "You can stay with me while you are in town"; "stay a bit longer--the day is still young"

  9. stay, stay on, continue, remainverb

    continue in a place, position, or situation

    "After graduation, she stayed on in Cambridge as a student adviser"; "Stay with me, please"; "despite student protests, he remained Dean for another year"; "She continued as deputy mayor for another year"

  10. stayverb

    remain behind

    "I had to stay at home and watch the children"

  11. stay, detain, delayverb

    stop or halt

    "Please stay the bloodshed!"

  12. persist, remain, stayverb

    stay behind

    "The smell stayed in the room"; "The hostility remained long after they made up"

  13. last out, stay, ride out, outrideverb

    hang on during a trial of endurance

    "ride out the storm"

  14. stayverb

    stop a judicial process

    "The judge stayed the execution order"

  15. stayverb

    fasten with stays

  16. quell, stay, appeaseverb

    overcome or allay

    "quell my hunger"


  1. stayverb

    To prop; support; sustain; hold up; steady.

  2. stayverb

    To stop; detain; keep back; delay; hinder.

    Your ships are stay'd at Venice uE00025482uE001 Shakespeare.

  3. stay

    To restrain; withhold; check; stop.

  4. stay

    To put off; defer; postpone; delay; keep back.

    The governor stayed the execution until the appeal could be heard.

  5. stay

    To hold the attention of.

  6. stay

    To bear; brook; undergo; abide; stand; hold out through or during.

  7. stay

    To wait for; await.

  8. stay

    To rest; depend; rely.

    Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon. uE00025483uE001 Isaiah 30:12, King James Bible.

  9. stay

    To stop; come to a stand or standstill.

  10. staynoun

    A prop; a support.

  11. staynoun

    A fastening for a garment; a hook; a clasp; anything to hang another thing on.

  12. stay

    That which holds or restrains; obstacle; check; hindrance; restraint.

  13. stay

    A stop; a halt; a break or cessation of action, motion, or progress.

  14. stay

    A postponement, especially of an execution or other punishment.

    The governor granted a stay of execution.

  15. stay

    A standstill; a state of rest; entire cessation of motion or progress.

    stand at a stay

  16. stay

    A fixed state; fixedness; stability; permanence.

  17. stay

    Continuance or a period of time spent in a place; abode for an indefinite time; sojourn.

    I hope you enjoyed your stay in Hawaii.

  18. stay

    A station or fixed anchorage for vessels.

  19. stay

    To come to an end; cease; blin.

  20. stay

    To delay; linger; tarry; wait.

  21. stay

    To make a stand; stand.

  22. stay

    To hold out, as in a race or contest; last or persevere to the end.

  23. stay

    To remain in a particular place, especially for an indefinite time; sojourn; abide.

  24. stay

    To wait; rest in patience or expectation.

  25. stay

    To wait as an attendant; give ceremonious or submissive attendance.

  26. stay

    To continue to have a particular quality.

    Wear gloves so your hands stay warm.

  27. stay

    A state; fixed condition.

  28. stay

    Restraint of passion; prudence; moderation; caution; steadiness; sobriety.

  29. stay

    A piece of stiff material, such as plastic or whalebone, used to stiffen a piece of clothing.

    Where are the stays for my collar?

  30. Etymology: From *, from stæg, from stagan, from stek-, from stā-. Cognate with stag, Stag, stag, stag.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Staynoun

    Etymology: estaye, French.

    Or for her stay or going; the affair cries haste. William Shakespeare.

    Should judges make a longer stay in a place than usually they do; a day more in a county would be a very good addition. Francis Bacon.

    Her long with ardent look his eye pursu’d,
    Delighted! but desired more her stay. John Milton.

    The Thracian youth invades
    Orpheus returning from th’ Elysian shades,
    Embrace the hero, and his stay implore. Edmund Waller.

    So long a stay will make
    The jealous king suspect we have been plotting. John Denham.

    What pleasure hop’st thou in my stay,
    When I’m constrain’d and wish myself away? Dryden.

    When the wine sparkles,
    Make haste, and leave thy business and thy care,
    No mortal int’rest can be worth thy stay. Dryden.

    Bones, after full growth, continue at a stay; teeth stand at a stay, except their wearing. Francis Bacon.

    Affairs of state seemed rather to stand at a stay, than to advance or decline. John Hayward.

    Made of sphere-metal, never to decay,
    Until his revolution was at stay. John Milton.

    Almighty crowd! thou shorten’st all dispute;
    Nor faith nor reason make thee at a stay,
    Thou leap’st o’er all. John Dryden, Medal.

    His fell heart thought long that little way,
    Griev’d with each step, tormented with each stay. Edward Fairfax.

    Many just and temperate provisos, well shewed and foretokened the wisdom, stay and moderation of the king. Francis Bacon.

    With prudent stay he long deferr’d
    The rough contention. Philips.

    Who have before, or shall write after thee,
    Their works though toughly laboured will be
    Like infancy or age to man’s firm stay,
    Or early and late twilights to mid-day. John Donne.

    Alas, what stay is there in human state!
    And who can shun inevitable fate? Dryden.

    Obedience of creatures unto the law of nature is the stay of the whole world. Richard Hooker.

    What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
    What this was once a king, and now is clay. William Shakespeare.

    My only strength, and stay! forlorn of thee,
    Whither shall I betake me? —— where subsist? John Milton.

    Trees serve as so many stays for their vines, which hang like garlands from tree to tree. Joseph Addison, Remarks on Italy.

    With stays and cordage last he rig’d a ship,
    And roll’d on leavers, launch’d her in the deep. Alexander Pope.

    No stubborn stays her yielding shape embrace. John Gay.

  2. To Stayverb

    All that may stay their minds from thinking that true which they heartily wish were false, but cannot think it so without some scruple. Richard Hooker.

    The Syrens sang to allure them into danger; but Orpheus sang so well that he staid them. Walter Raleigh, History of the World.

    He took nothing but a bit of bread to stay his stomach. John Locke.

    To stay these sudden gusts of passion
    That hurry you from reason, rest assur’d
    The secret of your love lives with me only. Nicholas Rowe.

    Stay her stomach with these half hundred plays, till I can procure her a romance big enough to satisfy her great soul with adventures. Alexander Pope.

    Why cease we then the wrath of heaven to stay?
    Be humbled all. Alexander Pope.

    The joyous time will not be stay’d
    Unless she do him by the forelock take. Edmund Spenser.

    Your ships are staid at Venice. William Shakespeare.

    Unto the shore, with tears, with sighs, with moan,
    They him conduct; cursing the bounds that stay
    Their willing fleet, that would have further gone. Daniel.

    I will bring thee where no shadow stays
    Thy coming, and thy soft embraces. John Milton, Paradise Lost.

    I was willing to stay my reader on an argument that appears to me new. John Locke.

    If as a prisoner I were here, you might
    Have then insisted on a conqueror’s right,
    And stay’d me here. Dryden.

    On this determination we might stay ourselves without further proceeding herein. Richard Hooker.

    Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other. Exod. xvii. 12.

    Sallows and reeds for vineyards useful found,
    To stay thy vines. Dryden.

  3. To STAYverb

    Etymology: slaen, Dutch.

    Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    If she do bid me pack, I’ll give her thanks,
    As though she bid me stay by her a week. William Shakespeare.

    Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? Ruth i. 13.

    Not after resurrection shall he stay
    Longer on earth than certain times t’appear. John Milton.

    He did ordain that as many might depart as would; but as many as would stay should have very good means to live from the state. Francis Bacon.

    They flocked in such multitudes, that they not only stayed for their resort, but discharged divers. John Hayward.

    Th’ injur’d sea, which from her wonted place,
    To gain some acres, avarice did force,
    If the new banks neglected once decay,
    No longer will from her old channel stay. Edmund Waller.

    Stay, I command you, stay and hear me first. Dryden.

    Nor must he stay at home, because he must he back again by one and twenty. The father cannot stay any longer. John Locke.

    Every plant has its atmosphere, which hath various effects on those who stay near them. John Arbuthnot, on Aliments.

    Servants sent on messages stay out longer than the message requires. Jonathan Swift.

    The flames augment, and stay
    At their full height, then languish to decay. Dryden.

    I’ll tell thee my whole device
    When I am in my coach, which stays for us. William Shakespeare.

    We for his royal presence only stay
    To end the rites. Dryden.

    I stay for Turnus, whose devoted head
    Is owing to the living and the dead;
    My son and I expect it from his hand. Dryden.

    When she lift pour out her larger spright,
    She would command the hasty sun to stay,
    Or backward turn his course. Fairy Queen.

    Perkin Warbeck, finding that when matters once go down the hill, they stay not without a new force, resolved to try some exploit upon England. Francis Bacon.

    Throws his steep flight in many an airy wheel,
    Nor stay’d, till on Niphates’ top he lights. John Milton.

    Nor will I stay
    On Amphix, or what deaths he dealt that day. Dryden.

    I must stay a little on one action, which preferred the relief of others to the consideration of yourself. Dryden.

    Because ye trust in oppression, and stay thereon, this shall be as a breach ready to fall. Isa. xxx. 12.

    They call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon God. Isa. xlviii. 2.


  1. Stay

    Stay is the debut single from Bernard Butler released in January 1998. It is the lead single taken from the album People Move On and charted at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart.


  1. stay

    Stay (noun): A period of time spent in a particular place or condition, usually temporarily, without changing location or state. It can refer to a temporary residence, a sojourn, a visit, or a pause in movement. Stay (verb): To remain in a particular place or condition for a period of time without leaving or changing position. It can also refer to maintaining a particular state or behavior without alteration.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Staynoun

    a large, strong rope, employed to support a mast, by being extended from the head of one mast down to some other, or to some part of the vessel. Those which lead forward are called fore-and-aft stays; those which lead to the vessel's side are called backstays. See Illust. of Ship

  2. Stayverb

    to stop from motion or falling; to prop; to fix firmly; to hold up; to support

  3. Stayverb

    to support from sinking; to sustain with strength; to satisfy in part or for the time

  4. Stayverb

    to bear up under; to endure; to support; to resist successfully

  5. Stayverb

    to hold from proceeding; to withhold; to restrain; to stop; to hold

  6. Stayverb

    to hinde/; to delay; to detain; to keep back

  7. Stayverb

    to remain for the purpose of; to wait for

  8. Stayverb

    to cause to cease; to put an end to

  9. Stayverb

    to fasten or secure with stays; as, to stay a flat sheet in a steam boiler

  10. Stayverb

    to tack, as a vessel, so that the other side of the vessel shall be presented to the wind

  11. Stayverb

    to remain; to continue in a place; to abide fixed for a space of time; to stop; to stand still

  12. Stayverb

    to continue in a state

  13. Stayverb

    to wait; to attend; to forbear to act

  14. Stayverb

    to dwell; to tarry; to linger

  15. Stayverb

    to rest; to depend; to rely; to stand; to insist

  16. Stayverb

    to come to an end; to cease; as, that day the storm stayed

  17. Stayverb

    to hold out in a race or other contest; as, a horse stays well

  18. Stayverb

    to change tack; as a ship

  19. Staynoun

    that which serves as a prop; a support

  20. Staynoun

    a corset stiffened with whalebone or other material, worn by women, and rarely by men

  21. Staynoun

    continuance in a place; abode for a space of time; sojourn; as, you make a short stay in this city

  22. Staynoun

    cessation of motion or progression; stand; stop

  23. Staynoun

    hindrance; let; check

  24. Staynoun

    restraint of passion; moderation; caution; steadiness; sobriety

  25. Staynoun

    strictly, a part in tension to hold the parts together, or stiffen them

  26. Etymology: [OF. estayer, F. tayer to prop, fr. OF. estai, F. tai, a prop, probably fr. OD. stade, staeye, a prop, akin to E. stead; or cf. stay a rope to support a mast. Cf. Staid, a., Stay, v. i.]


  1. Stay

    "Stay" is a song by UK based pop act Shakespears Sister, released by London Records in January 1992 as the second single from their album Hormonally Yours. Upon release, the single became the duo's first and only #1 single in numerous territories, including the UK, where it topped the singles chart for 8 consecutive weeks; the longest UK #1 reign for any girl band. The single also held the #1 position for 6 weeks in band member Siobhan Fahey's native Ireland. In November 2010, The X Factor contestant Cher Lloyd performed the song on series 7 of the show. Following this, the original version re-entered the UK, Ireland and the European Hot 100 Singles charts. "Stay" was the only Shakespears Sister song that featured Siobhan Fahey less prominently on vocals than Marcella Detroit, with Detroit singing the verses and lead chorus and Fahey singing the song's dramatic bridge. Detroit is noted for singing in whistle register before the last chorus of the song, going up to a high F.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Stay

    stā, v.i. to remain: to abide for any time: to continue in a state: to wait: to cease acting: to dwell: to trust.—v.t. to cause to stand: to stop: to restrain: to delay: to prevent from falling: to prop: to support, rest, rely:—pa.t. and pa.p. stayed, staid.—n. continuance in a place: abode for a time: stand: stop: a fixed state: a standstill: suspension of a legal proceeding: prop, support: (pl.) a kind of stiff inner waistcoat worn by women.—ns. Stay′-at-home, one who keeps much at home—also adj.; Stay′-bolt, a bolt or rod binding together opposite plates; Stay′er, one who, or that which, stops, holds, or supports: a person or animal of good lasting or staying qualities for a race, &c.; Stay′-lace, a lace for fastening a bodice; Stay′-mā′ker, one whose occupation is to make stays.—Stay the stomach, to allay the cravings of hunger for the time. [O. Fr. estayer, estaye—Old Dut. stade, a stay.]

  2. Stay

    stā, n. a large strong rope running from the head of one mast to another mast ('fore-and-aft' stay), or to the side of the ship ('back'-stay): the transverse piece in a chain-cable link.—v.t. to support or to incline to one side by means of stays: to put on the other tack, to cause to go about.—v.i. to change tack, to go about, to be in stays.—ns. Stay′sail, a sail extended on a stay; Stay′-tack′le, a large hoisting tackle fixed by a pendant to the mainstay of a ship.—Miss stays (see Miss). [A.S. stæg; Dut. stag, Ger. stag.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. stay

    A large strong rope extending from the upper end of each mast towards the stem of the ship, as the shrouds are extended on each side. The object of both is to prevent the masts from springing, when the ship is pitching deep. Thus stays are fore and aft; those which are led down to the vessel's side are backstays.--The fore-stay is that which reaches from the foremast-head towards the bowsprit end.--The main-stay is that which extends to the ship's stem.--The mizen-stay is that which is stretched to a collar on the main-mast, immediately above the quarter-deck.--The fore-topmast stay is that which comes to the end of the bowsprit, a little beyond the fore-stay, on which the fore-topmast staysail runs on hanks.--The main-topmast stay is attached to the hounds of the fore-mast, or comes on deck.--The mizen-topmast stay is that which comes to the hounds of the main-mast. The top-gallant, royal, or any other masts, have each a stay, named after their respective masts.--Spring-stay is a kind of substitute nearly parallel to the principal stay, and intended to help the principal stay to support its mast.--Stay of a steamer. An iron bar between the two knees which secure the paddle-beams. (See FUNNEL-STAYS.)--To stay. To tack, to bring the ship's head up to the wind for going about; hence to miss stays, is to fail in the attempt to go about.--In stays, or hove in stays, is the situation of a vessel when she is staying, or in the act of going about; a vessel in bad trim, or lubberly handled, is sure to be slack in stays, and refuses stays, when she has to wear.

Suggested Resources

  1. STAY

    What does STAY stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the STAY acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. STAY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Stay is ranked #28263 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Stay surname appeared 846 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Stay.

    90.9% or 769 total occurrences were White.
    3.5% or 30 total occurrences were Black.
    1.7% or 15 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.4% or 12 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.3% or 11 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    1% or 9 total occurrences were Asian.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'stay' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #953

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'stay' in Written Corpus Frequency: #591

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'stay' in Nouns Frequency: #2521

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'stay' in Verbs Frequency: #128

How to pronounce stay?

How to say stay in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of stay in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of stay in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of stay in a Sentence

  1. Anthony Pike:

    People are no longer incredulous to the potential danger, were seeing a cultural change across Cape Cod to educate the public, to stay close and shore to swim responsibly.

  2. Le Foll:

    We need people to stay together, we want to move fast with broad backing.

  3. Lewis Jassey:

    Stay patient; it’s going to work and eventually their brain will follow their actual stomach, a baby is a creature as far as habit [goes], so the earlier that we can get started on a good routine, the better for everybody.

  4. David Andrews:

    It seems likely that some of it is getting absorbed into the blood long after the sunscreen applications and in part that is why levels in blood stay high weeks after application, the skin is not a perfect barrier and so absorption of small amounts of chemicals from sunscreens( and indeed other skin care products such as cosmetics) is to be expected.

  5. Thomas Peter:

    The words I heard most throughout the protests were 'stay safe!' even when the protest turned into a riot and people were smashing through glass and metal into the LegCo building, I had people repeatedly come up and warn me that it was dangerous here. When I replied that I would stay, they usually told me to stay safe and thanked me for being here.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for stay

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • مكث, بقيArabic
  • заставацца, застаццаBelarusian
  • chom, ampellatBreton
  • quedar-se, restarCatalan, Valencian
  • pobyt, odložit, odklad, zůstat, odložení, odročeníCzech
  • BlivDanish
  • aussetzen, aufschieben, bleiben, aufhalten, vertagenGerman
  • μένω, αναβάλλωGreek
  • stajo, restado, resti, prokrastiEsperanto
  • quedarse, permanecer, mantenerse, pasar la noche, estadía, quedar, hospedarseSpanish
  • jääma, viivitus, viivitama, viibimaEstonian
  • ماندنPersian
  • vahvike, oleskelu, este, harus, tuki, lykätä, pysyvyys, viipyä, jäädä, pysähdys, lykkäys, pysyä, maltti, staagi, naulaFinnish
  • rester, séjourFrench
  • fanIrish
  • permanecer, quedar, ficarGalician
  • נשארHebrew
  • ठहरना, रहनाHindi
  • tartózkodik, maradHungarian
  • մնալArmenian
  • tinggalIndonesian
  • vera, halda, dveljaIcelandic
  • restare, rimandare, stare, permanenza, rimanereItalian
  • とまる, 残る, とどまる, 留まるJapanese
  • ಉಳಿಯಿರಿKannada
  • 머무르다Korean
  • sto, teneo, maneoLatin
  • likti, pasiliktiLithuanian
  • pūrengi, pūwhenuaMāori
  • stag, uitstel, blijven, uitstellen, verblijven, verblijfDutch
  • stag, bli, forbliNorwegian
  • zatrzymać się, zostać, zatrzymywać się, pobyt, zostawaćPolish
  • estadia, suspensão, manter, permanecer, ficar, estada, adiar, continuarPortuguese
  • sta, rămâne, amâna, întârzia, [[rămâne]], [[dăinui]], zăboviRomanian
  • остаться, отсрочка, оставаться, пребываниеRussian
  • òstati, о̀статиSerbo-Croatian
  • stanna, stag, vistelse, vistas, hålla sigSwedish
  • คงอยู่, พักอยู่Thai
  • затримуватися, залишитисяUkrainian
  • رہناUrdu
  • lưu lại, ở lạiVietnamese
  • Chinese

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    sound of something in rapid motion
    • A. opaque
    • B. whirring
    • C. suspicious
    • D. brilliant

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