- to spend some time in a place, in a situation, with a person or group, etc.: He stayed in the army for ten years.
- to continue to be as specified, as to condition or state: to stay clean.
- to hold out or endure, as in a contest or task (followed by with or at): Please stay with the project as long as you can.
- to keep up, as with a competitor (followed by with).
- Poker. to continue in a hand by matching an ante, bet, or raise.
- to stop or halt.
- to pause or wait, as for a moment, before proceeding or continuing; linger or tarry.
- Archaic. to cease or desist.
- Archaic. to stand firm.
- to stop or halt.
- to hold back, detain, or restrain, as from going further.
- to suspend or delay (actions, proceedings, etc.).
- to appease or satisfy temporarily the cravings of (the stomach, appetite, etc.).
- to remain through or during (a period of time): We stayed two days in San Francisco.
- to remain to the end of; remain beyond (usually followed by out).
- Archaic. to await.
- the act of stopping or being stopped.
- a stop, halt, or pause; a standstill.
- a sojourn or temporary residence: a week's stay in Miami.
- Law. a stoppage or arrest of action; suspension of a judicial proceeding: The governor granted a stay of execution.
- Informal. staying power; endurance.
- stay the course, to persevere; endure to completion.
Origin of stay1
- something used to support or steady a thing; prop; brace.
- a flat strip of steel, plastic, etc., used especially for stiffening corsets, collars, etc.
- a long rod running between opposite walls, heads or sides of a furnace, boiler, tank, or the like, to strengthen them against internal pressures.
- stays, Chiefly British. a corset.
- to support, prop, or hold up (sometimes followed by up).
- to sustain or strengthen mentally or spiritually.
- to rest on (something, as a foundation or base) for support.
- to cause something to become fixed or to rest on (a support, foundation, base, etc.)
Origin of stay2
- any of various strong ropes or wires for steadying masts, funnels, etc.
- to support or secure with a stay or stays: to stay a mast.
- to put (a ship) on the other tack.
- (of a ship) to change to the other tack.
- in stays, (of a fore-and-aft-rigged vessel) heading into the wind with sails shaking, as in coming about.
Origin of stay3
Examples from the Web for stays
But he loses his backpack in the process and it stays with the cops as he flees down the walkway toward Brooklyn.Protesters Slimed This Good Samaritan Cop
December 16, 2014
He stays home one more day and then comes in and seems fine.Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days
December 13, 2014
This is exactly the kind of legal chaos that stays are meant to avoid.Gay Marriage Chaos Begins
November 11, 2014
The presidential hopefuls fire up the faithful with promises to extend the Republican revolution to 2016, as Jeb Bush stays mum.In Texas, Cruz, Perry Crow Over GOP Rout
November 5, 2014
There is something about a clown that stays with people: the bright colors, their tendency to be demonstrative.Nightmares in Face Paint: Why We’ll Always Be Afraid of Clowns
October 18, 2014
We always think the sun drops down away from us, but it stays still.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
"Helena stays with me to-night—my compliments," said Lady Delacour.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
But the frigate which had her in tow hove in stays, and got her round.The Life of Horatio Lord Nelson
Her sister's well married, an' Isabel stays every night with her.Tiverton Tales
Yes, such she was—fifteen years old, full of figure and no stays.L'Assommoir
- rare corsets with bones in them
- a position of a sailing vessel relative to the wind so that the sails are luffing or abackCompare irons (def. 2)
- miss stays or refuse stays (of a sailing vessel) to fail to come about
- (intr) to continue or remain in a certain place, position, etcto stay outside
- (copula) to continue to be; remainto stay awake
- (intr often foll by at) to reside temporarily, esp as a guestto stay at a hotel
- (tr) to remain for a specified periodto stay the weekend
- (intr) Scot and Southern African to reside permanently or habitually; live
- archaic to stop or cause to stop
- (intr) to wait, pause, or tarry
- (tr) to delay or hinder
- to discontinue or suspend (a judicial proceeding)
- to hold in abeyance or restrain from enforcing (an order, decree, etc)
- to endure (something testing or difficult, such as a race)a horse that stays the course
- (intr; usually foll by with) to keep pace (with a competitor in a race, etc)
- (intr) poker to raise one's stakes enough to stay in a round
- (tr) to hold back or restrainto stay one's anger
- (tr) to satisfy or appease (an appetite, etc) temporarily
- (tr) archaic to quell or suppress
- (intr) archaic to stand firm
- stay put See put (def. 18)
- the act of staying or sojourning in a place or the period during which one stays
- the act of stopping or restraining or state of being stopped, etc
- the suspension of a judicial proceeding, etcstay of execution
- anything that supports or steadies, such as a prop or buttress
- a thin strip of metal, plastic, bone, etc, used to stiffen corsets, etc
- (often foll by up) to prop or hold
- (often foll by up) to comfort or sustain
- (foll by on or upon) to cause to rely or depend
Word Origin and History for stays
"to remain," mid-15c., from Middle French estai-, stem of ester "to stay or stand," from Old French, from Latin stare "to stand" (cf. Italian stare, Spanish estar "to stand, to be"), from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Originally "come to a halt;" sense of "remain" is first recorded 1570s.
Noun senses of "appliance for stopping," "period of remaining in a place," and (judicial) "suspension of proceeding" all developed 1525-1550. Stay-at-home (adj.) is from 1806. Stay put is first recorded 1843, American English. "To stay put is to keep still, remain in order. A vulgar expression" [Bartlett]. Phrase stay the course is originally (1885) in reference to horses holding out till the end of a race.
"support, prop, brace," 1510s, from Middle French estaie "piece of wood used as a support," perhaps from Frankish *staka "support," from Proto-Germanic *stagaz (cf. Middle Dutch stake "stick," Old English steli "steel" stæg "rope used to support a mast"), from PIE *stak- (see stay (n.2)). If not, then from the root of stay (v.). Stays "laced underbodice" is attested from c.1600.
"strong rope which supports a ship's mast," from Old English stæg, from Proto-Germanic *stagan (cf. Dutch stag, Low German stach, German Stag, Old Norse stag), from PIE *stak-, ultimately an extended form of root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). The verb meaning "secure or steady with stays" is first recorded 1620s.
Idioms and Phrases with stays
In addition to the idioms beginning with stay
- staying power
- stay over
- stay put
- stay the course
- stay with
- here to stay
- (stay) in touch
- (stay on one's) right side
- should have stood (stayed) in bed
- stick (stay) with