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 Noun (1) there must be a poise between the rights of the individual and the rights of society the woman's poise suggested that she was accustomed to having her wishes carried out promptly and without question
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Trump’s attorneys are poised to argue that the election interference case in Washington is riddled with unusable evidence based on the high court’s ruling. Ashley Oliver, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 18 July 2024 Travis Jones, who has shown steady improvement in each of his first two seasons in the league, appears poised to be the next player up front ready to break out. Brian Wacker, Baltimore Sun, 17 July 2024 Denver is poised to see an 18% drop in new housing units in 2024, according to Census Bureau data. John Frank, Axios, 17 July 2024 My top 10 things to watch Wednesday, July 17 Wall Street is poised to open lower across the board Wednesday, a day after the S & P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs. Jim Cramer, CNBC, 17 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for poise 

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 21 Jul. 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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