ar·​mi·​stice ˈär-mə-stəs How to pronounce armistice (audio)
: temporary stopping of open acts of warfare by agreement between the opponents : truce

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Armistice descends from Latin sistere, meaning "to come to a stand" or "to cause to stand or stop," combined with arma, meaning "weapons." An armistice, therefore, is literally a cessation of arms. Armistice Day is the name that was given to the holiday celebrated in the United States on November 11 before it was renamed Veterans Day by Congress in 1954. The original name refers to the agreement between the Allied Powers and Germany to end hostilities that constituted the First World War—an agreement designated to take effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Examples of armistice in a Sentence

both sides in the conflict agreed to an armistice during the solemn holy days
Recent Examples on the Web Any armistice or freezing of the conflict would draw a line through southern and eastern Ukraine, leaving millions of Ukrainians under Russian rule. David Lewis, Foreign Affairs, 18 Jan. 2024 The president, Albert Lebrun, replaced him the next day with Pétain, who immediately asked Hitler for an armistice. Robert O. Paxton, Harper's Magazine, 17 Dec. 2023 The industry is currently on watch, wondering if that drastic move will actually come to fruition, or if the two sides will come to an armistice at the eleventh hour to avoid an all-out war. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 31 Jan. 2024 Although that conflict never officially ended, the fortification and stabilization of the 38th parallel eventually produced a durable armistice that allowed South Korea to flourish. Emma Ashford, Foreign Affairs, 10 Jan. 2024 These were paid for by the French themselves in onerous costs set by the armistice agreement. Robert O. Paxton, Harper's Magazine, 17 Dec. 2023 At the time, the country was fresh off the Korean War, whose combat ended in 1953 as the result of an armistice. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2023 But the war ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a truce, and the division of the peninsula became permanent. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2023 This isn't even an armistice, merely a cease fire at the advantage to Hamas. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 29 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'armistice.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin armistitium, from Latin arma "implements of war, weapons" + -stit-, -stes (going back to *-sta-t-s, root noun derivative from Indo-European *steh2- the base of Latin sistere "to make stand, halt, bring to a standstill," stāre "to stand") + -ium, suffix of compounded nouns — more at arm entry 3, stand entry 1

Note: The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources records armistitium from medieval Scottish documents preserved in England (Rotuli Scotiae in Turri Londensi et in Domo Capitulari Westmonasteriensi asservati, vol. 1, London, 1814, p. 335). However, the word occurs only in the text of a heading summarizing the contents of a letter written in April, 1335. These headings were presumably composed when the documents were collected for publication and do not reflect medieval usage of armistitium. Printed records of the word are in abundance only after 1610, when it appears in the dedicatory preface to Biblical commentaries by the French Jesuit Nicolaus Serarius (In sacros divinorum bibliorum libros, Tobiam, Iudith, Esther et Machabaeos commentarius, Mainz, 1610), though there is no reason to believe Serarius coined it. The model for the coinage may have been Latin solstitium solstice.

First Known Use

1677, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of armistice was in 1677


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Cite this Entry

“Armistice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​mi·​stice ˈär-mə-stəs How to pronounce armistice (audio)
: a pause in fighting brought about by agreement between the two sides

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