1 of 2


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

stand down

2 of 2


stood down; standing down; stands down

intransitive verb

: to leave the witness stand
chiefly British
: to go off duty
: 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
The Marine Corps acting commandant, Eric Smith, on Monday issued a two-day stand-down to take place at some point this week for all aviation units both inside and outside of the United States, a spokesman told ABC News. Ellie Kaufman, ABC News, 18 Sep. 2023 The decision to stand-down all aircraft also comes after two deadly Marine Corps crashes last month. Phil McCausland, NBC News, 18 Sep. 2023 Military officials in April ordered a 24-hour stand-down of all aviation units following two deadly mid-air helicopter collisions within 30 days. Matt Seyler, ABC News, 13 June 2023 In response to both incidents, the Army issued a service-wide stand-down for aviation units to complete mandatory safety training. Louis Casiano, Fox News, 3 May 2023 Army leadership on Friday ordered an aviation stand-down after two fatal helicopter crashes, the most recent of which killed three soldiers and injured a fourth in Alaska on Thursday. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 29 Apr. 2023 Army National Guard and Reserve units will have until May 31 to carry out their stand-downs. Luis Martinez, ABC News, 28 Apr. 2023
As a group, this category of workers stands to benefit the most from the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case — and Disney’s decision to stand down. Gabriel San Román, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2023 Henry founded production company Douglas Road in 2014 and will stand down as CEO to focus on Esmerelda. Douglas Road Productions will continue to be run by managing director Angela Ferreira. K.j. Yossman, Variety, 23 Oct. 2023 In response, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a Pentagon-wide stand down to discuss extremism within the ranks. Hanna Krueger,, 15 July 2023 Marine aircraft deployed abroad or with upcoming missions were able to briefly delay the order, but they are expected to stand down for two days this week, officials said. Chantal Da Silva, NBC News, 19 Sep. 2023 Despite Chinese-government pressure, and the White House’s reluctance to disrupt its ongoing talks with Beijing, Congress is not likely to stand down from taking legislative action to address the likely threat of ... Jimmy Quinn, National Review, 6 Sep. 2023 Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responded to the coup by enacting sanctions and issuing an ultimatum to the ruling military junta: stand down within a week or face a potential military intervention. Umaro Djau, CNN, 14 Aug. 2023 Frank Smith [The march] enabled me to go back and recommit myself to stand down there, for another four or five years. Clarence Williams, Washington Post, 25 Aug. 2023 Prigozhin ordered his forces to stand down and retreat roughly 36 hours later. NBC News, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


1916, in the meaning defined above


1651, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of stand-down was in 1651

Dictionary Entries Near stand-down

stand down



Cite this Entry

“Stand-down.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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