sta·​tion·​ary | \ˈstā-shə-ˌner-ē \

Definition of stationary 

1 : fixed in a station, course, or mode : immobile

2 : unchanging in condition a stationary population

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Synonyms & Antonyms for stationary


immobile, nonmoving, standing, static


mobile, movable (or moveable), moving, nonstationary

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stationary or stationery?

The Internet is awash with mnemonics (“something (such as a word, a sentence, or a song) that helps people remember something“) designed to assist those who have trouble distinguishing between two similar words. A fair share of these turn out to be for the words stationery and stationary. The most commonly suggested method is to remember that you buy papER at a stationERy store. If this trick does not work for you, then perhaps it will help to remember that a stationery store is one that is run by a stationer. This word was originally applied to a bookseller, but by the middle of the 17th century it began to be used for a person who sells papers, pens, and office goods.

Examples of stationary in a Sentence

Einstein imagined a beam of light piercing the elevator. If the elevator were rising relative to the source of light, the beam would enter at a certain height on one side of the elevator and appear to curve on its way to a lower height on the opposite wall. Einstein then imagined that the elevator were stationary on the surface of the earth. Since he postulated that the two circumstances are the same, Einstein concluded that the same effect would have to hold true for both. In other words, gravity must bend light. Smithsonian, June 2005 By pushing the keys with the side of his fist and pushing foot pedals, the player transfers mechanical force to clappers, which strike the stationary bells, which are tuned to specific notes. — Douglas Martin, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2003 And while atomic reactors and chemical storage facilities are the sort of stationary targets that invite bombing, bioweapons laboratory materials are small enough to be put in a truck and moved to another location. — Gregg Easterbrook, New Republic, 25 Feb. 2002 The weather front has remained stationary over the Southeast. a stationary bicycle is good for exercise, but you won't enjoy the scenery very much
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Recent Examples on the Web

Both fitness companies revolve around stationary bikes, but Peloton’s are purchased for in-home use — a notable $2,000 barrier to entry — and its customers pay a monthly fee to access live and prerecorded classes on the bike’s built-in monitor. Rani Molla, Recode, "Peloton now has more U.S. customers than SoulCycle, new data suggests," 3 Dec. 2018 The RacerMate CompuTrainer Flywheels are indoor cycling trainers that attach your road bike to simulate a stationary exercise bike. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "Recall Alert: RacerMate CompuTrainer Indoor Bike Flywheels," 21 Mar. 2016 But like the Vivosmart devices to come before it, the Vivosmart 4's module is stationary in the middle of the continuous piece of silicone that makes up its band. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Garmin Vivosmart 4 review: An affordable band for easy fitness, SpO2 data," 27 Oct. 2018 Keeping your upper arms stationary and your elbows , lift the weights until your arms are fully extended behind you. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Here's How to Do Octavia Spencer's Low-Impact Cardio Workout," 4 Oct. 2018 And savvy companies since put out safer alternatives (like stationary activity centers). Julia Belluz, Vox, "2,000 US kids go to the emergency room every year because of baby walkers," 18 Sep. 2018 In our own homes, we like using stationary activity centers (similar to walkers, but without wheels), play yards, playpens, and high chairs with toys. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "Parents: It Might Be Best to Breakup With Baby Walkers," 22 Aug. 2018 Keep the stud or hoop stationary and gently move the suds inside and out and rinse. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Everything You Want to Know About Tragus Piercings — Including How Much They Hurt," 13 Aug. 2018 The team kicking off will also have to do so from a stationary position rather than getting a running start. Matt Murschel,, "Coaches, football leaders grapple with ways to make kickoff returns safer for players," 27 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of stationary

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stationary

see station entry 1

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Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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The first known use of stationary was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for stationary



English Language Learners Definition of stationary

: not moving : staying in one place or position

: not changing


sta·​tion·​ary | \ˈstā-shə-ˌner-ē \

Kids Definition of stationary

1 : having been set in a certain place or post : immobile a stationary bike

2 : not changing : stable Their weekly income remained stationary.


sta·​tion·​ary | \ˈstā-shə-ˌner-ē \

Medical Definition of stationary 

1 : fixed in position : not moving

2 : characterized by a lack of change the patient's condition remained stationary

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More from Merriam-Webster on stationary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stationary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stationary

Spanish Central: Translation of stationary

Nglish: Translation of stationary for Spanish Speakers

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