Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[pawz] /pɔz/
a temporary stop or rest, especially in speech or action:
a short pause after each stroke of the oar.
a cessation of activity because of doubt or uncertainty; a momentary hesitation.
any comparatively brief stop, delay, wait, etc.:
I would like to make a pause in my talk and continue after lunch.
a break or rest in speaking or reading to emphasize meaning, grammatical relation, metrical division, etc., or in writing or printing by the use of punctuation.
Prosody. a break or suspension, as a caesura, in a line of verse.
Music. a fermata.
verb (used without object), paused, pausing.
to make a brief stop or delay; wait; hesitate:
He paused at the edge of the pool for a moment. I'll pause in my lecture so we can all get some coffee.
to dwell or linger (usually followed by on or upon):
to pause upon a particular point.
give pause, to cause to hesitate or be unsure, as from surprise or doubt:
These frightening statistics give us pause.
Origin of pause
1400-50; (noun) Middle English < Latin pausa < Greek paûsis a halt, equivalent to paú(ein) to stop + -sis -sis; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related forms
pausal, adjective
pauseful, adjective
pausefully, adverb
pauseless, adjective
pauselessly, adverb
pauser, noun
pausingly, adverb
nonpause, noun
unpausing, adjective
Can be confused
pause, paws, pores, pours.
1–3. suspension, interruption, break, halt; hiatus, lacuna. 7. rest. 8. tarry, delay. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for pause
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When he entered he had only to pause a moment before he had all the details clearly in mind.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Shall we pause now and turn our back upon the road that lies ahead?

  • She looked at me reflectively, and said, after a pause, "Because I see it so."

  • He did not pause to take in the beauty of that face, only its strength.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Even after the shutting of the door behind the prisoner, the pause endured for some moments.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
British Dictionary definitions for pause


verb (intransitive)
to cease an action temporarily; stop
to hesitate; delay: she replied without pausing
a temporary stop or rest, esp in speech or action; short break
(prosody) another word for caesura
(music) Also called fermata. a continuation of a note or rest beyond its normal length Usual symbol fermata
give pause to, to cause to hesitate
Derived Forms
pausal, adjective
pauser, noun
pausing, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin pausa pause, from Greek pausis, from pauein to halt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pause

early 15c., from Old French pausee "a pause, interruption" (14c.) and directly from Latin pausa "a halt, stop, cessation," from Greek pausis "stopping, ceasing," from pauein "to stop, to cause to cease," from PIE root *paus- "to leave, desert, cease, stop."


mid-15c., from pause (n.) and from Middle French pauser, from Late Latin pausare "to halt, cease, pause." Related: Paused; pausing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
pause in Medicine

pause (pôz)
A temporary stop or cessation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with pause


see: give pause
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for pause

Difficulty index for pause

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pause

Scrabble Words With Friends