stay

1 of 6

noun (1)

1
: a large strong rope usually of wire used to support a mast
2

stay

2 of 6

verb (1)

stayed; staying; stays

transitive verb

1
: to secure upright with or as if with stays
2
: to incline (a mast) forward, aft, or to one side by the stays

intransitive verb

: to go about : tack

stay

3 of 6

verb (2)

stayed ˈstād How to pronounce stay (audio) also staid ˈstād How to pronounce stay (audio) ; staying

intransitive verb

1
: to stop going forward : pause
2
: to stop doing something : cease
3
: to continue in a place or condition : remain
stayed up all night
went for a short vacation but stayed on for weeks
stay put till I come back
4
: to stand firm
5
: to take up residence : lodge
6
: to keep even in a contest or rivalry
stay with the leaders
7
: to call a poker bet without raising
8
obsolete : to be in waiting or attendance

transitive verb

1
: to wait for : await
2
: to stick or remain with (a race, a trial of endurance, etc.) to the end
usually used in the phrase stay the course
3
: to remain during
stayed the whole time
4
a
: to stop or delay the proceeding or advance of by or as if by interposing an obstacle : halt
b
: to check the course of (something, such as a disease)
c
: allay, pacify
stayed tempers
d
: to quiet the hunger of temporarily

stay

4 of 6

noun (2)

1
a
: the action of halting : the state of being stopped
b
: a stopping or suspension of procedure or execution by judicial or executive order
2
obsolete : self-control, moderation
3
: a residence or sojourn in a place
4
: capacity for endurance

stay

5 of 6

noun (3)

1
: one that serves as a prop : support
2
: a thin firm strip (as of plastic) used for stiffening a garment or part (such as a shirt collar)
3
: a corset stiffened with bones
usually used in plural

stay

6 of 6

verb (3)

stayed; staying; stays

transitive verb

1
: to provide physical or moral support for : sustain
2
: to fix on something as a foundation
Choose the Right Synonym for stay

defer, postpone, suspend, stay mean to delay an action or proceeding.

defer implies a deliberate putting off to a later time.

deferred buying a car until spring

postpone implies an intentional deferring usually to a definite time.

the game is postponed until Saturday

suspend implies temporary stoppage with an added suggestion of waiting until some condition is satisfied.

business will be suspended while repairs are underway

stay often suggests the stopping or checking by an intervening agency or authority.

the governor stayed the execution

Examples of stay in a Sentence

Verb (2) let's stay inside this pavilion until it stops raining stay the trial until this new evidence has been processed we'll stay for a while longer and see if anyone shows up let's stay at a quaint inn rather than at some generic motel Noun (2) my mother-in-law is coming for a brief stay next week we must work without stay if we are ever to reach our goal of equal rights for everyone Noun (3) a free press is one of the principal stays of a democratic society Verb (3) beams being used to stay the bridge while it is undergoing repairs
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
But in recent years, a wider set of travelers are flocking to the Iberian Peninsula to discover its world-class golf resorts, wine country retreats, beachfront hotels, and other pilgrimage-worthy stays. Siobhan Reid, Travel + Leisure, 9 July 2024 Reps for the star never responded to PEOPLE's request about the reason for her hospital stay. Sabienna Bowman, Peoplemag, 9 July 2024 During his stay, Chronis underwent surgical grafting for his burn wounds. Alexander Coolidge, The Enquirer, 9 July 2024 Admission to the waterpark for up to four guests is included with a stay. Beth Luberecki, USA TODAY, 9 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for stay 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stay.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English stæg; akin to Old Norse stag stay

Verb (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French estei-, estai-, stem of ester to stand, stay, from Latin stare — more at stand

Noun (3)

Middle English, from Middle French estaie, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch stake pole, Middle Low German stak post, stake pole — more at stake

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1627, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1536, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (3)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (3)

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of stay was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near stay

Cite this Entry

“Stay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stay. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

stay

1 of 6 noun
: a strong rope or wire used to steady or brace something (as a mast)

stay

2 of 6 verb
: to fasten (as a smokestack) with stays

stay

3 of 6 verb
1
: to stop going forward : pause
2
: to continue in a place or condition : remain
stayed at home
3
: to stand firm
4
: to take up residence : lodge
stayed in a hotel
5
6
: to last out (as a race)
7
: check entry 2 sense 2, halt
stay an execution

stay

4 of 6 noun
1
: the action of halting : the state of being stopped
2
: a stopping of a procedure by court or executive order
3
: a residence or visit in a place

stay

5 of 6 noun
1
: something that serves as a prop : support
2
: a thin firm strip (as of plastic) used for stiffening a garment (as a corset) or part (as a shirt collar)

stay

6 of 6 verb
: to provide support for
Etymology

Noun

Old English stæg "a strong rope used to steady or support something"

Verb

Middle English stayen "to stop going forward," from early French ester "to stand, stay," from Latin stare "to stand"

Noun

from early French estaie "a support, prop"; of Germanic origin

Legal Definition

stay

1 of 2 transitive verb
stayed; staying
: to temporarily suspend or prevent by judicial or executive order
may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a State courtU.S. Code

stay

2 of 2 noun
: a temporary suspension or injunction of an action or process by a usually discretionary judicial or executive order
a stay of execution of the judgment
stay of a lower court's judgment pending certiorariW. J. Brennan, Jr.
see also automatic stay compare cease-and-desist order at order sense 3b, mandamus, supersedeas

More from Merriam-Webster on stay

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