the position or bearing of the body while standing: legs spread in a wide stance; the threatening stance of the bull.
a mental or emotional position adopted with respect to something: They assumed an increasingly hostile stance in their foreign policy.
Sports. the relative position of the feet, as in addressing a golf ball or in making a stroke.

Origin of stance

1525–35; < Old French estance (standing) position < Vulgar Latin *stantia, derivative of Latin stant- (stem of stāns), present participle of stāre to stand Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stance

Contemporary Examples of stance

Historical Examples of stance

  • Her shoulders drooped a little; there was no grace to her stance.

    The Wind Bloweth

    Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne

  • The stance is not accurate, but it is not bad enough to be fatal in itself.

  • There is nothing of my own discovery or invention in my stance for the drive.

  • Hugo changed his stance and took the door itself in his hands.


    Philip Wylie

  • The youngster's stance was perfect, but so was his buck fever.

    Double Challenge

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

British Dictionary definitions for stance



the manner and position in which a person or animal stands
sport the posture assumed when about to play the ball, as in golf, cricket, etc
general emotional or intellectual attitudea leftist stance
Scot a place where buses or taxis wait
mountaineering a place at the top of a pitch where a climber can stand and belay

Word Origin for stance

C16: via French from Italian stanza place for standing, from Latin stāns, from stāre to stand
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

Word Origin and History for stance

1530s, "standing place, station," probably from Middle French stance "resting place, harbor," from Italian stanza "stopping place, station," from Vulgar Latin *stantia "place, abode," from Latin stans (genitive stantis), present participle of stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Sense of "position of the feet" (in golf, etc.) is first recorded 1897; figurative sense of "point of view" is recorded from 1956.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper