\ ˈstan(d)-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce stand-down (audio) \

Definition of stand-down

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a relaxation of status of a military unit or force from an alert or operational posture

stand down

stood down; standing down; stands down

Definition of stand down (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to leave the witness stand
2 chiefly British
a : to go off duty
b : to withdraw from a contest, a position of leadership, or a state of alert or readiness

transitive verb

: to remove from active duty In December of 1944, it was judged safe to stand down the Home Guard … after four and a half years of guarding Britain against invasion.— Anthony Bailey

Examples of stand-down in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After securing his position, Gerace worked to stand down the city’s mass care homeless shelter at the Sullivan Arena, which the city closed at the end of June, along with most of its other pandemic-era homelessness responses. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Aug. 2022 Prosecutors disagreed, arguing that the letters demonstrated that Bannon had willfully ignored Congress' demands after unsuccessfully trying to get the committee to stand down. Robert Legare, CBS News, 19 July 2022 Similar conditions existed for weeks at a steel mill in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol before a civilian evacuation was arranged and the defending troops were ordered by Ukrainian military commanders to stand down. John Leicester,, 12 June 2022 Similar conditions existed for weeks at the Azovstal steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol before a civilian evacuation was arranged and the defending troops were ordered by Ukrainian military commanders to stand down. Leila Sackur, NBC News, 12 June 2022 Arredondo denied previous reports from The New York Times that stated the group of officers that ultimately killed Ramos had been ordered to stand down before making their move against the shooter. Dan Carson, Chron, 10 June 2022 Finally, seeing the collision that was coming, Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, tried to enlist help from Mr. Kushner, calling him over the holidays to ask him to get his father-in-law to stand down. New York Times, 8 June 2022 The MiG mistake may let Mr. Putin believe his threats will make NATO stand down. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 9 Mar. 2022 The final straw that had prompted 60 MPs to quit their jobs and call on Johnson to stand down was his appalling reaction the week before to the resignation of MP Chris Pincher, and the catalog of failures that had preceded it. Holly Thomas, CNN, 16 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stand-down.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of stand-down


circa 1919, in the meaning defined above


1681, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Learn More About stand-down

Time Traveler for stand-down

Time Traveler

The first known use of stand-down was in 1681

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near stand-down

stand down



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for stand-down

Cite this Entry

“Stand-down.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!