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 Try different positions Who said masturbation has to stationary? Gigi Engle, Teen Vogue, "How to Masturbate If You Have a Penis: 9 Tips and Techniques," 5 Nov. 2019 Inside, find trendy clothing and jewelry, as well as gifts like Swig cups, beauty products, and stationary. al, "Where to eat and shop in Edgewood," 31 Oct. 2019 The robots powered by the Plus One software are more flexible than stationary robots that can only perform one task, Edwards said. Randy Diamond,, "Plus One Robotics to double workforce," 31 Oct. 2019 Carlsbad also has installed stationary cameras on utility poles at more than a dozen key intersections throughout the city that automatically read the license plates on moving vehicles. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Carlsbad to increase surveillance cameras, security guards," 20 Oct. 2019 In the second quarter on Sunday, Odell Beckham Jr. opened on a quick slant but Mayfield led Beckham on the throw instead of anticipating a stationary target. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Repeating play calls hasn’t been working very well for the Browns’ Freddie Kitchens -- Film Review," 17 Oct. 2019 Cars, bicycles, and other moving objects on the road showed as a different color than points that represented parked cars, trees, the road, and other stationary objects. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Two self-driving startups team up to build a different kind of lidar," 28 May 2019 Like most driver assist systems equipped with automatic emergency braking, Autopilot is programmed to focus on maintaining a safe distance from other moving objects — cars — and to ignore stationary objects. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot is like Waze on steroids," 6 Nov. 2018 Out went the aging stationary bike and file cabinets from the room off the master bedroom. Beth Teitell,, "In Greater Boston, home staging gone wild," 8 Sep. 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

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for stationary

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on stationary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stationary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stationary

Spanish Central: Translation of stationary

Nglish: Translation of stationary for Spanish Speakers

Comments on stationary

What made you want to look up stationary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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