poise

1 of 3

verb

poised; poising

transitive verb

1
a
: balance
especially : to hold or carry in equilibrium
carried a water jar poised on her head
b
: to hold supported or suspended without motion in a steady position
poised her fork and gave her guest a knowing lookLouis Bromfield
2
: to hold or carry (the head) in a particular way
3
: to put into readiness : brace

intransitive verb

1
: to become drawn up into readiness
2
: hover

poise

2 of 3

noun (1)

1
: a stably balanced state : equilibrium
a poise between widely divergent impulsesF. R. Leavis
2
a
: easy self-possessed assurance of manner : gracious tact in coping or handling
also : the pleasantly tranquil interaction between persons of poise
no angry outbursts marred the poise of the meeting
b
: a particular way of carrying oneself : bearing, carriage

poise

3 of 3

noun (2)

: a centimeter-gram-second unit of viscosity equal to the viscosity of a fluid that would require a shearing force of one dyne to impart to a one-square-centimeter area of an arbitrary layer of the fluid a velocity of one centimeter per second relative to another layer separated from the first by a distance of one centimeter
Choose the Right Synonym for poise

tact, address, poise, savoir faire mean skill and grace in dealing with others.

tact implies delicate and considerate perception of what is appropriate.

questions showing a lack of tact

address stresses dexterity and grace in dealing with new and trying situations and may imply success in attaining one's ends.

brought it off with remarkable address

poise may imply both tact and address but stresses self-possession and ease in meeting difficult situations.

answered the accusations with unruffled poise

savoir faire is likely to stress worldly experience and a sure awareness of what is proper or expedient.

the savoir faire of a seasoned traveler

Examples of poise in a Sentence

Verb She poised her pencil above the paper and waited for the signal to begin writing. the disgraced business executive poised herself for the difficult press conference
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
But Trump leads in most state and national surveys as his allies are poised to takeover the Republican National Committee which will further fuel uncertainty about her chances. Phillip M. Bailey, USA TODAY, 25 Feb. 2024 The Garage concept is poised to redefine the music retail experience, offering an immersive space where music enthusiasts can gather, explore and even create. Kate Hardcastle, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 While the odds of space debris hitting you are very, very minuscule, a large satellite is poised to smash into Earth's atmosphere Wednesday morning beginning around 11 a.m. EST. John Tufts, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Feb. 2024 So Reddit seems poised to make quite the splash as a public company. Kylie Robison, Fortune, 23 Feb. 2024 With Adam Shaul's strategic guidance and Robert Ben Shushan's unparalleled eye for talent, Roberto is poised to redefine the entertainment landscape in Los Angeles and beyond. Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 In the 2022 election, the G.O.P. took control of the House of Representatives, and McCarthy was poised to become Speaker. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, 19 Feb. 2024 Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, however, declined 1%, and was poised to reverse three straight days of gains. Laura He, CNN, 19 Feb. 2024 Now, chatbots powered by generative artificial intelligence, including from Google itself, are poised to shake up how search works. Kelvin Chan, Quartz, 17 Feb. 2024
Noun
Fans of the original title, meanwhile, may get to test their poise by avoiding any recognition of a very different version. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 6 Feb. 2024 That’s a constant issue for the Wolves, who have only sporadically demonstrated poise in the heat of the moment in recent weeks. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, 2 Feb. 2024 The pageant is judged based on a personal interview, poise, personality, stage presence and a question on stage. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Jan. 2024 This incident is a shining example of the compassion, poise, and dedication of the officers of the Ashland Police Division. Jon Haworth, ABC News, 24 Jan. 2024 When Mount Saint Joseph and St. Frances get together in boys basketball, the details are magnified, any runs are vital, and the poise at the end proves the difference. Glenn Graham, Baltimore Sun, 9 Jan. 2024 Michael Glenn brings a comic touch to the hapless Ivan, while Marcus Kyd lends just the right poise to Mr. Lockhart. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 15 Dec. 2023 These socialites’ allure went beyond beauty, style and poise. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Jan. 2024 But Missouri came out with fire and poise to open up the second stanza. Jaden Lewis, Kansas City Star, 27 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, to weigh, ponder, from Anglo-French peiser, poiser, from Latin pensare — more at pensive

Noun (1)

Middle English poyse weight, heaviness, from Anglo-French peis, pois, from Latin pensum, from neuter of pensus, past participle of pendere to weigh — more at pendant

Noun (2)

French, from Jean Louis Marie Poiseuille †1869 French physician and anatomist

First Known Use

Verb

1597, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1913, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of poise was in 1597

Dictionary Entries Near poise

Cite this Entry

“Poise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poise. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

poise

1 of 2 verb
poised; poising
1
a
: balance entry 2 sense 5
especially : to hold or make firm or steady by balancing
b
: to hold without motion in a steady position : hover
a bird poised in the air
2
: to put into readiness : brace
poised for action

poise

2 of 2 noun
1
2
a
: a dignified self-confident manner
a speaker of great poise
b
: a way of carrying oneself : bearing

Medical Definition

poise

noun
: a cgs unit of viscosity equal to the viscosity of a fluid that would require a shearing force of one dyne to impart to a one square-centimeter area of an arbitrary layer of the fluid a velocity of one centimeter per second relative to another layer separated from the first by a distance of one centimeter

More from Merriam-Webster on poise

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