[ stat-ik ]
See synonyms for: staticstatics on

adjectiveAlso stat·i·cal .
  1. pertaining to or characterized by a fixed or stationary condition.

  2. showing little or no change: a static concept; a static relationship.

  1. lacking movement, development, or vitality: The novel was marred by static characterizations, especially in its central figures.

  2. Sociology. referring to a condition of social life bound by tradition.

  3. Electricity. pertaining to or noting static electricity.

  4. noting or pertaining to atmospheric electricity interfering with radar, radio, the sending and receiving of wireless messages, etc.

  5. Physics. acting by mere weight without producing motion: static pressure.

  6. Economics. pertaining to fixed relations, or different combinations of fixed quantities: static population.

  7. Computers. (of data storage, processing, or programming) unaffected by the passage of time or the presence or absence of power: A static website contains web pages with fixed content that does not change as the user interacts with it.

  1. Electricity.

    • static or atmospheric electricity.

    • interference due to such electricity.

  2. Informal. difficulty; trouble: Will your dad give you any static on using the car?

Origin of static

First recorded in 1560–70; from New Latin staticus, from Greek statikós, equivalent to sta- (stem of histánai “to make, stand” ) + -tikos adjective suffix; see stand, -tic

word story For static

The adjective static comes into English via New Latin staticus, which dates from the late 16th century and means “relating to weighing.”
Staticus is a straightforward borrowing of Greek statikós with the same meaning. Statica, the feminine singular of staticus, is short for ars statica “the art, science, or technique of weighing,” also dating from the late 16th century, and is a translation of Greek téchnē statikē (which, in the 16th century, wasn't just a matter of putting something on a postage meter or bathroom scale). Statikós is a derivative of the adjective statós “(of a horse or water) standing still.” Statics, the branch of mechanics that deals with bodies at rest or forces in equilibrium, is a derivative of Latin statica and Greek statikē.
The noun sense of static, used in telecommunications and electromagnetics, is a relatively new development, from the late 19th century. It refers to atmospheric electricity and the interference due to it. Out of this developed a figurative sense that we use informally today to complain about someone interfering with what we want to do (that is, giving us trouble or difficulty): “Stop giving me static about this!”

Other words from static

  • stat·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • non·stat·ic, adjective
  • un·stat·ic, adjective
  • un·stat·i·cal, adjective
  • un·stat·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for static


/ (ˈstætɪk) /

adjectiveAlso: statical
  1. not active or moving; stationary

  2. (of a weight, force, or pressure) acting but causing no movement

  1. of or concerned with forces that do not produce movement: Compare dynamic (def. 1)

  2. relating to or causing stationary electric charges; electrostatic

  3. of or relating to interference in the reception of radio or television transmissions

  4. of or concerned with statics

  5. sociol characteristic of or relating to a society that has reached a state of equilibrium so that no changes are taking place

  6. computing (of a memory) not needing its contents refreshed periodically: Compare dynamic (def. 5)

  1. random hissing or crackling or a speckled picture caused by the interference of electrical disturbances in the reception of radio or television transmissions

  2. electric sparks or crackling produced by friction

Origin of static

C16: from New Latin staticus, from Greek statikos causing to stand, from histanai to stand, put on the scales

Derived forms of static

  • statically, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for static


[ stătĭk ]

  1. Having no motion; being at rest. Compare dynamic.

  2. Relating to or producing static electricity.

  1. Distortion or interruption of a broadcast signal, such as crackling or noise in a receiver or specks on a television screen, often produced when background electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere disturbs signal reception or when there are loose connections in the transmission or reception circuits.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.