stationary

adjective
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

Synonyms

immobile, nonmoving, standing, static

Antonyms

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

The wall that’s now covered by a consistent, stationary background of plants, loosely resembling the ivy at Wrigley Field in Chicago, was initially painted with semi-gloss paint that proved to be too reflective. Dave Campbell, The Seattle Times, "Spruced up: Twins try juniper plants for CF backdrop," 25 Mar. 2019 Tesla cars have crashed into parked fire trucks and other stationary vehicles—though thankfully no one else was killed. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018," 30 Dec. 2018 To hit one, the missile needs good terminal guidance, and so far the DF-21D has only been tested against stationary targets. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "What You Need to Know About the South China Sea, the World's Next Hot Spot," 27 Feb. 2019 Estimating crowd size is an inexact science even when the crowd is stationary. Dara Lind, Vox, "The migrant caravan, explained," 24 Oct. 2018 The maker of video-streaming stationary exercise bikes is expected to select its slate of underwriters in the coming weeks and will likely seek to debut in the second half of 2019, some of the people said. Dana Mattioli, WSJ, "Peloton Interviews Banks for IPO," 11 Feb. 2019 Made by Raytheon, the bomb is fired from fighter jets thousands of miles high in the sky and penetrates bad weather to attack moving and stationary targets on the ground. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "StormBreaker: Powerful bomb penetrates bad weather, spells bad news for bad guys," 27 July 2018 Fermilab has used part of the accelerator chain from its former centerpiece, the Tevatron accelerator, to smash protons into a stationary target. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Weird neutrino excess won’t go away, hints at new physics," 8 June 2018 The flywheel helps give a sense of motion that doesn’t seem possible for a stationary bike. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "PM Approved: Kickr Smart Bike Trainer," 29 Jan. 2019

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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Statistics for stationary

Last Updated

4 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for stationary

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

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More Definitions for stationary

stationary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of stationary

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

stationary

adjective
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.

stationary

adjective
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

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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

Comments on stationary

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