[ stop ]
See synonyms for: stopstoppedstoppingstops on

verb (used with object),stopped or (Archaic) stopt; stop·ping.
  1. to cease from, leave off, or discontinue: to stop running.

  2. to cause to cease; put an end to: to stop noise in the street.

  1. to interrupt, arrest, or check (a course, proceeding, process, etc.): Stop your work just a minute.

  2. to cut off, intercept, or withhold: to stop supplies.

  3. to restrain, hinder, or prevent (usually followed by from): I couldn't stop him from going.

  4. to prevent from proceeding, acting, operating, continuing, etc.: to stop a speaker; to stop a car.

  5. to block, obstruct, or close (a passageway, channel, opening, duct, etc.) (usually followed by up): He stopped up the sink with a paper towel. He stopped the hole in the tire with a patch.

  6. to fill the hole or holes in (a wall, a decayed tooth, etc.).

  7. to close (a container, tube, etc.) with a cork, plug, bung, or the like.

  8. to close the external orifice of (the ears, nose, mouth, etc.).

  9. Sports.

    • to check (a stroke, blow, etc.); parry; ward off.

    • to defeat (an opposing player or team): The Browns stopped the Colts.

    • Boxing. to defeat by a knockout or technical knockout: Louis stopped Conn in the 13th round.

  10. Banking. to notify a bank to refuse payment of (a check) upon presentation.

  11. Bridge. to have an honor card and a sufficient number of protecting cards to keep an opponent from continuing to win in (a suit).

  12. Music.

    • to close (a fingerhole) in order to produce a particular note from a wind instrument.

    • to press down (a string of a violin, viola, etc.) in order to alter the pitch of the tone produced from it.

    • to produce (a particular note) by so doing.

verb (used without object),stopped or (Archaic) stopt; stop·ping.
  1. to come to a stand, as in a course or journey; halt.

  2. to cease moving, proceeding, speaking, acting, operating, etc.; to pause; desist.

  1. to cease; come to an end.

  2. to halt for a brief visit (often followed by at, in, or by): He is stopping at the best hotel in town.

  3. stop by, to make a brief visit on one's way elsewhere: I'll stop by on my way home.

  1. the act of stopping.

  2. a cessation or arrest of movement, action, operation, etc.; end: The noise came to a stop. Put a stop to that behavior!

  1. a stay or sojourn made at a place, as in the course of a journey: Above all, he enjoyed his stop in Trieste.

  2. a place where trains or other vehicles halt to take on and discharge passengers: Is this a bus stop?

  3. a closing or filling up, as of a hole.

  4. a blocking or obstructing, as of a passage or channel.

  5. a plug or other stopper for an opening.

  6. an obstacle, impediment, or hindrance.

  7. any piece or device that serves to check or control movement or action in a mechanism.

  8. Architecture. a feature terminating a molding or chamfer.

  9. Commerce.

    • an order to refuse payment of a check.

  10. Music.

    • the act of closing a fingerhole or pressing a string of an instrument in order to produce a particular note.

    • a device or contrivance, as on an instrument, for accomplishing this.

    • (in an organ) a graduated set of pipes of the same kind and giving tones of the same quality.

    • Also called stop knob. a knob or handle that is drawn out or pushed back to permit or prevent the sounding of such a set of pipes or to control some other part of the organ.

    • (in a reed organ) a group of reeds functioning like a pipe-organ stop.

  11. Sports. an individual defensive play or act that prevents an opponent or opposing team from scoring, advancing, or gaining an advantage, as a catch in baseball, a tackle in football, or the deflection of a shot in hockey.

  12. Nautical. a piece of small line used to lash or fasten something, as a furled sail.

  13. Phonetics.

    • an articulation that interrupts the flow of air from the lungs.

    • a consonant sound characterized by stop articulation, as p, b, t, d, k, and g.: Compare continuant.

  14. Photography. the diaphragm opening of a lens, especially as indicated by an f- number.

  15. Building Trades.

  16. any of various marks used as punctuation at the end of a sentence, especially a period.

  17. the word “stop” printed in the body of a telegram or cablegram to indicate a period.

  18. stops, (used with a singular verb) a family of card games whose object is to play all of one's cards in a predetermined sequence before one's opponents.

  19. Zoology. a depression in the face of certain animals, especially dogs, marking the division between the forehead and the projecting part of the muzzle.

Verb Phrases
  1. stop down, Photography. (on a camera) to reduce (the diaphragm opening of a lens).

  2. stop in, to make a brief, incidental visit: If you're in town, be sure to stop in.

  1. stop off, to halt for a brief stay at some point on the way elsewhere: On the way to Rome we stopped off at Florence.

  2. stop out,

    • to mask (certain areas of an etching plate, photographic negative, etc.) with varnish, paper, or the like, to prevent their being etched, printed, etc.

    • to withdraw temporarily from school: Most of the students who stop out eventually return to get their degrees.

  3. stop over, to stop briefly in the course of a journey: Many motorists were forced to stop over in that town because of floods.

Idioms about stop

  1. pull out all the stops,

    • to use every means available.

    • to express, do, or carry out something without reservation.

Origin of stop

First recorded before 1000; Middle English verb stoppen, stop(pe), Old English -stoppian; cognate with Dutch, Low German stoppen, German stopfen; all ultimately from Vulgar Latin stuppāre (unrecorded), “to plug with oakum,” derivative of Latin stuppa “coarse hemp or flax,” from Greek stýppē

synonym study For stop

3. Stop, arrest, check, halt imply causing a cessation of movement or progress (literal or figurative). Stop is the general term for the idea: to stop a clock. Arrest usually refers to stopping by imposing a sudden and complete restraint: to arrest development. Check implies bringing about an abrupt, partial, or temporary stop: to check a trotting horse. To halt means to make a temporary stop, especially one resulting from a command: to halt a company of soldiers.

Other words for stop

Opposites for stop

Other words from stop

  • stopless, adjective
  • stop·less·ness, noun
  • mul·ti·stop, adjective

Words Nearby stop Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use stop in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stop


/ (stɒp) /

verbstops, stopping or stopped
  1. to cease from doing or being (something); discontinue: stop talking

  2. to cause (something moving) to halt or (of something moving) to come to a halt: to stop a car; the car stopped

  1. (tr) to prevent the continuance or completion of: to stop a show

  2. (tr often foll by from) to prevent or restrain: to stop George from fighting

  3. (tr) to keep back: to stop supplies to the navy

  4. (tr) to intercept or hinder in transit: to stop a letter

  5. (tr often foll by up) to block or plug, esp so as to close: to stop up a pipe

  6. (tr often foll by up) to fill a hole or opening in: to stop up a wall

  7. (tr) to staunch or stem: to stop a wound

  8. (tr) to instruct a bank not to honour (a cheque)

  9. (tr) to deduct (money) from pay

  10. (tr) British to provide with punctuation

  11. (tr) boxing to beat (an opponent) either by a knockout or a technical knockout

  12. (tr) informal to receive (a blow, hit, etc)

  13. (intr) to stay or rest: we stopped at the Robinsons' for three nights

  14. (tr) rare to defeat, beat, or kill

  15. (tr) music

    • to alter the vibrating length of (a string on a violin, guitar, etc) by pressing down on it at some point with the finger

    • to alter the vibrating length of an air column in a wind instrument by closing (a finger hole, etc)

    • to produce (a note) in this manner

  16. (tr) to place a hand inside (the bell of a French horn) to alter the tone colour and pitch or play (a note) on a French horn in such a manner

  17. bridge to have a protecting card or winner in (a suit in which one's opponents are strong)

  18. stop at nothing to be prepared to do anything; be unscrupulous or ruthless

  1. an arrest of movement or progress

  2. the act of stopping or the state of being stopped

  1. a place where something halts or pauses: a bus stop

  2. a stay in or as if in the course of a journey

  3. the act or an instance of blocking or obstructing

  4. a plug or stopper

  5. a block, screw, or other device or object that prevents, limits, or terminates the motion of a mechanism or moving part

  6. British a punctuation mark, esp a full stop

  7. Also called: stop thrust fencing a counterthrust made without a parry in the hope that one's blade will touch before one's opponent's blade

  8. music

    • the act of stopping the string, finger hole, etc, of an instrument

    • a set of organ pipes or harpsichord strings that may be allowed to sound as a group by muffling or silencing all other such sets

    • a knob, lever, or handle on an organ, etc, that is operated to allow sets of pipes to sound

    • an analogous device on a harpsichord or other instrument with variable registers, such as an electrophonic instrument

  9. pull out all the stops

    • to play at full volume

    • to spare no effort

  10. Australian a stud on a football boot

  11. the angle between the forehead and muzzle of a dog or cat, regarded as a point in breeding

  12. nautical a short length of line or small stuff used as a tie, esp for a furled sail

  13. Also called: stop consonant phonetics any of a class of consonants articulated by first making a complete closure at some point of the vocal tract and then releasing it abruptly with audible plosion. Stops include the labials (p, b), the alveolars or dentals (t, d), the velars (k, g): Compare continuant

  14. Also called: f-stop photog

    • a setting of the aperture of a camera lens, calibrated to the corresponding f-number

    • another name for diaphragm (def. 4)

  15. a block or carving used to complete the end of a moulding

  16. Also called: stopper bridge a protecting card or winner in a suit in which one's opponents are strong

Origin of stop

C14: from Old English stoppian (unattested), as in forstoppian to plug the ear, ultimately from Late Latin stuppāre to stop with a tow, from Latin stuppa tow, from Greek stuppē

Derived forms of stop

  • stoppable, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with stop


In addition to the idioms beginning with stop

  • stop at nothing
  • stop by
  • stop cold
  • stop in
  • stop off
  • stop payment
  • stop short
  • stop someone's clock
  • stop the clock
  • stop up

also see:

  • buck stops here
  • pull out all the stops
  • put an end (a stop) to

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.