[ poiz ]
See synonyms for: poisepoised on Thesaurus.com

  1. a dignified, self-confident manner or bearing; composure; self-possession: to show poise in company.

  2. steadiness; stability: intellectual poise.

  1. a state of balance or equilibrium, as from equality or equal distribution of weight; equipoise.

  2. suspense or wavering, as between rest and motion or two phases of motion: the poise of the tides.

  3. the way of being poised, held, or carried.

  4. the state or position of hovering: the poise of a bird in the air.

verb (used with object),poised, pois·ing.
  1. to adjust, hold, or carry in equilibrium; balance evenly.

  2. to hold supported or raised, as in position for casting, using, etc.: to poise a spear.

  1. to hold or carry in a particular manner: She walked, carefully poising a water jug on her head.

  2. to put (a person or thing) in a state or position of readiness or preparedness: He has poised himself to succeed. The mayor is credited with poising the city for impressive growth and development.

  3. Obsolete. to weigh.

verb (used without object),poised, pois·ing.
  1. to rest in equilibrium; be balanced.

  2. to hover, as a bird in the air.

Origin of poise

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English noun pois(e) “weight,” from Old French (French poids ), from Late Latin pēnsum, noun use of neuter past participle of Latin pendere “to weigh”; Middle English verb poisen “to weigh,” from Old French poiser, variant, based on tonic stem, of peser, from Latin pēnsāre, frequentative of pendere

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Other definitions for poise (2 of 2)

[ pwahz ]

  1. a centimeter-gram-second unit of viscosity, equal to the viscosity of a fluid in which a stress of one dyne per square centimeter is required to maintain a difference of velocity of one centimeter per second between two parallel planes in the fluid that lie in the direction of flow and are separated by a distance of one centimeter. Symbol: P

Origin of poise

First recorded in 1910–15; from French; named after Jean Louis Marie Poiseuille (1799–1869), French physician

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use poise in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for poise (1 of 2)


/ (pɔɪz) /

  1. composure or dignity of manner

  2. physical balance or assurance in movement or bearing

  1. the state of being balanced or stable; equilibrium; stability

  2. the position of hovering

  3. suspense or indecision

  1. to be or cause to be balanced or suspended

  2. (tr) to hold, as in readiness: to poise a lance

  1. (tr) a rare word for weigh 1

Origin of poise

C16: from Old French pois weight, from Latin pēnsum, from pendere to weigh

British Dictionary definitions for poise (2 of 2)


/ (pwɑːz, pɔɪz) /

  1. the cgs unit of viscosity; the viscosity of a fluid in which a tangential force of 1 dyne per square centimetre maintains a difference in velocity of 1 centimetre per second between two parallel planes 1 centimetre apart. It is equivalent to 0.1 newton second per square metre: Symbol: P

Origin of poise

C20: named after Jean Louis Marie Poiseuille (1799–1869), French physician

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 poise


[ poiz, pwäz ]

  1. The unit of dynamic viscosity in the centimeter-gram-second system, equal to one dyne-second per square centimeter, or 0.1 pascal-seconds.

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