sta·​tion·​ary | \ ˈstā-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce stationary (audio) \

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



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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 Instead of a typical parade with spectators packed together, lining the street as floats pass by, the idea of the reverse parade was to allow spectators to drive past stationary parade entries. Kristen Griffith,, "Westminster council cancels reverse holiday parade," 11 Nov. 2020 Hard Rock will be enforcing safety protocols including mandatory temperature check upon entry, capacity limits and requiring masks at all times, unless eating or drinking while stationary and socially distanced. Post-tribune Staff,, "Community news," 11 Nov. 2020 While Eta has been slowly moving south this morning, it is expected to become stationary later today. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "Digging Out (Again) But Moderating Temperatures Likely by Thanksgiving," 10 Nov. 2020 Rite Aid is allocating more space for beauty and personal care items, as well as vitamins and supplements, and less for stationary and household appliances. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, "This is the Rite Aid of the future," 9 Nov. 2020 At first, Boegershausen said, the membership discussed producing a stationary parade in a public spot that would stay in place for a few days. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer,, "New Orleans’ naughtiest Mardi Gras krewe cancels 2021 parade, produces outdoor art instead," 6 Nov. 2020 Designed for smaller areas, spot or stationary sprinklers shoot water into the air, letting the droplets fall in round or square patterns. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Sprinklers to keep lawns fresh," 30 Oct. 2020 That would make the plant one of the largest stationary sources of greenhouse gases in the state, surpassed by only a few other power plants. oregonlive, "Despite troubled past, critics say Oregon Department of Energy is ignoring rules to benefit power plants," 27 Oct. 2020 Male fireflies, thick in the air, flew around and flashed in unison to attract the relatively stationary females waiting on the ground below. Courtney Holden, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Fireflies’ Dramatic Light Show Might Spark Advances in Robot Communication," 27 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for stationary

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for stationary

Last Updated

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stationary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for stationary


How to pronounce stationary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stationary

: not moving : staying in one place or position
: not changing


sta·​tion·​ary | \ ˈstā-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce stationary (audio) \

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 How to pronounce stationary (audio) \

Medical Definition of stationary

1 : fixed in position : not moving
2 : characterized by a lack of change the patient's condition remained stationary

More from Merriam-Webster on stationary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stationary

Nglish: Translation of stationary for Spanish Speakers

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