stand·​still ˈstan(d)-ˌstil How to pronounce standstill (audio)
: a state characterized by absence of motion or of progress : stop
brought traffic to a standstill

Example Sentences

The accident brought traffic to a standstill. battled each other to a standstill
Recent Examples on the Web One of the worst commutes in the Bay Area became a nightmare Wednesday afternoon as eastbound traffic on Interstate 580 near Livermore slowed to a standstill. Ricardo Cano, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Mar. 2023 Unions have called for nationwide strikes and protests for this Thursday, hoping to bring the country to a standstill. Pierre Bairin, CNN, 20 Mar. 2023 The economy all but came to a standstill when covid took hold in March 2020. Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post, 19 Mar. 2023 Since the assassination of the country’s President, Jovenel Moïse, in July, 2021, armed groups have taken over its capital and brought daily life to a standstill. Marlene L. Daut, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2023 Hopes for the release of US-Iranian prisoners have floundered in recent months, as negotiations between Tehran and Washington over the revival of the nuclear deal — which former President Donald Trump pulled out of in 2018 — came to a standstill. Christiane Amanpour, CNN, 9 Mar. 2023 Workers blockaded oil refineries, disrupting fuel deliveries in what organizers said was a push to bring France to a standstill. Harold Maass, The Week, 8 Mar. 2023 During a 10-day manhunt for the fighters, Israel put Jericho in a state of lockdown, setting up checkpoints that brought business and traffic to a standstill. Fatima Abdulkarim, Washington Post, 3 Mar. 2023 One exception was the pandemic year of 2020, when travel all but came to a standstill. Cathy Bussewitz, Fortune, 2 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1702, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of standstill was in 1702

Dictionary Entries Near standstill

Cite this Entry

“Standstill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


stand·​still -ˌstil How to pronounce standstill (audio)
: a state marked by absence of motion or activity : stop
traffic was at a standstill

Medical Definition


stand·​still ˈstand-ˌstil How to pronounce standstill (audio)
: a state characterized by absence of motion or of progress : arrest
cardiac standstill

More from Merriam-Webster on standstill

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