\ ˈstäp How to pronounce stop (audio) \
stopped; stopping

Definition of stop

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to close by filling or obstructing
b : to hinder or prevent the passage of
c : to get in the way of : be wounded or killed by easy to stop a bullet along a lonely … road— Harvey Fergusson
2a : to close up or block off (an opening) : plug
b : to make impassable : choke, obstruct
c : to cover over or fill in (a hole or crevice)
3a : to cause to give up or change a course of action
b : to keep from carrying out a proposed action : restrain, prevent stopped them from leaving
4a : to cause to cease : check, suppress
5a : to deduct or withhold (a sum due)
b : to instruct one's bank to refuse (payment) or refuse payment of (something, such as a check)
6a : to arrest the progress or motion of : cause to halt stopped the car
b : parry
c : to check by means of a weapon : bring down, kill
d : to beat in a boxing match by a knockout broadly : defeat
7a : to change the pitch of (something, such as a violin string) by pressing with the finger
b : to change the pitch of (a wind instrument) by closing one or more finger holes or by thrusting the hand or a mute into the bell
8 : to hold an honor card and enough protecting cards to be able to block (a bridge suit) before an opponent can run many tricks

intransitive verb

1a : to cease activity or operation his heart stopped the motor stopped
b : to come to an end especially suddenly : close, finish The talking stopped when she entered the room.
2a : to cease to move on : halt
3a : to break one's journey : stay
b chiefly British : remain
c : to make a brief call : drop in
4 : to become choked : clog the sink often stops up



Definition of stop (Entry 2 of 3)

b : a pause or breaking off in speech
2a(1) : a graduated set of organ pipes of similar design and tone quality
(2) : a corresponding set of vibrators or reeds of a reed organ
(3) : stop knob often used figuratively in phrases like pull out all the stops to suggest holding nothing back
b : a means of regulating the pitch of a musical instrument
3a : something that impedes, obstructs, or brings to a halt : impediment, obstacle
b : the aperture of a camera lens also : a marking of a series (as of f-numbers) on a camera for indicating settings of the diaphragm
c : a drain plug : stopper
4 : a device for arresting or limiting motion
5 : the act of stopping : the state of being stopped : check
6a : a halt in a journey : stay made a brief stop to refuel
b : a stopping place a bus stop
7a chiefly British : any of several punctuation marks
b used in telegrams and cables to indicate a period
c : a pause or break in a verse that marks the end of a grammatical unit
8a : an order stopping payment (as of a check or note) by a bank
9 : a consonant characterized by complete closure of the breath passage in the course of articulation — compare continuant
10 : a depression in the face of an animal at the junction of forehead and muzzle
11 : a function of an electronic device that stops a recording

Definition of stop (Entry 3 of 3)

: serving to stop : designed to stop stop line stop signal

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Other Words from stop


stoppable \ ˈstä-​pə-​bəl How to pronounce stoppable (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for stop


stop, cease, quit, discontinue, desist mean to suspend or cause to suspend activity. stop applies to action or progress or to what is operating or progressing and may imply suddenness or definiteness. stopped at the red light cease applies to states, conditions, or existence and may add a suggestion of gradualness and a degree of finality. by nightfall the fighting had ceased quit may stress either finality or abruptness in stopping or ceasing. the engine faltered, sputtered, then quit altogether discontinue applies to the stopping of an accustomed activity or practice. we have discontinued the manufacture of that item desist implies forbearance or restraint as a motive for stopping or ceasing. desisted from further efforts to persuade them

Examples of stop in a Sentence

Verb She was walking toward me, and then she suddenly stopped. The bus stopped at the corner. He stopped to watch the sun set. He stopped to pick up a penny. The car was going so fast that it couldn't stop in time. The traffic light turned red, so she had to stop. Stop that man! He stole my wallet. They stopped us at the border to check our passports. She stopped the car and turned back. He was stopped by the police for speeding. Noun His first stop will be Washington, D.C. Our first stop has to be the gas station. I need to make a stop at the grocery store on the way home. The next stop is Main Street and Tower Square. I'm getting off at the next stop. Slow down as you approach the stop.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb My office will devote whatever resources are necessary to stop scams aimed at exploiting Americans during this unprecedented pandemic. Fox News, "Georgia man arrested, charged with attempting to defraud VA in coronavirus scam: DOJ," 11 Apr. 2020 As the officer tried to stop the car, its wheels struck the curb and drove up onto the curb. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland, "Driver pulls in front of police cruiser, cited for OVI: North Olmsted Police Blotter," 11 Apr. 2020 For example, a family of anti-arrhythmic drugs that was effective in stopping asymptomatic irregular heartbeats was subsequently found to increase the risk of cardiac arrest when given to heart attack survivors. G. Caleb Alexander, STAT, "Searching for an effective Covid-19 treatment: promise and peril," 10 Apr. 2020 This weekend, in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19, all city and county parks will be closed to all except pedestrians, dog walkers, hikers, cyclists and runners. Bruce Selcraig,, "San Antonio weekend picnic crowds got the coronavirus message — parks are closed," 10 Apr. 2020 Shops are calling on people to stop the practice too, and social-media memes ridicule the hoarders. The Economist, "Stories of an extraordinary world Do you speak corona? A guide to covid-19 slang," 10 Apr. 2020 Spell has continued to defy calls to stop church services even after his arrest. Meagan Flynn,, "Kansas governor sues GOP lawmakers for revoking her order limiting church gatherings," 10 Apr. 2020 There have been a few studies, including one out of China, that showed that warm weather could be key in stopping the virus. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "White House given report showing warm weather won't significantly curb coronavirus spread," 8 Apr. 2020 So her daily routine continued until her body ordered her to stop. Deon J. Hampton,, "12 days of fearing or her life and ‘it doesn’t look good,’ woman shares experience with coronavirus," 8 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Thousands hitched bus ride to this year’s O.C. Fair Ridership on this year’s OC Fair Express — a non-stop bus service for fair-goers — increased by more than 4% over 2018, according to the Orange County Transportation Authority. Daily Pilot, "Around Town: Jackson Browne, ‘Star Wars’ headline upcoming Pacific Amphitheatre concerts," 15 Aug. 2019 However, within his stop start term, the Sporting CP academy graduate has aided his side's Scudetto charge by providing three assists, the last of which came in September., "West Ham Set to Reopen Talks With Inter for Joao Mario Following Loan Deal Breakdown," 19 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stop.' 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 stop


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


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


1594, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stop


Middle English stoppen, from Old English -stoppian, from Vulgar Latin *stuppare to stop with tow, from Latin stuppa tow, from Greek styppē

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Time Traveler for stop

Time Traveler

The first known use of stop was in the 13th century

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Statistics for stop

Last Updated

14 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stop.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for stop


How to pronounce stop (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stop

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to not move, walk, etc., after doing so before
: to cause (someone or something) to not move, walk, etc., after doing so before
: to not do something that you have been doing before : to not continue doing something



English Language Learners Definition of stop (Entry 2 of 2)

: a state in which someone or something is no longer moving
: a state in which no further activity happens
sports : a play that stops an opponent from scoring a goal


\ ˈstäp How to pronounce stop (audio) \
stopped; stopping

Kids Definition of stop

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cease moving especially temporarily or for a purpose I stopped to catch my breath. The bus stops here.
2 : to halt the movement or progress of Stop the car!
3 : to keep from doing something I couldn't stop him from leaving.
4 : to come or bring (something) to an end The rain stopped. Stop that yelling.
5 : to cease operating or functioning The engine just stopped.
6 : to close or block up or become closed or blocked up : plug I stopped my ears with cotton. The drain was stopped up.
7 : to take time Stop to think first.



Kids Definition of stop (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : end entry 1 sense 2, finish Let's put a stop to the arguing.
2 : the act of bringing or coming to a halt : the state of being stopped The train came to a stop.
3 : a halt in a journey : stay We made a brief stop in the mountains.
4 : a stopping place a bus stop
5 : something that delays, blocks, or brings to a halt a door stop
7 : a set of organ pipes of one tone quality : a control knob for such a set


stopped; stopping

Legal Definition of stop

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to halt stopped payment
2 : to subject to a legal stop

intransitive verb

: to cease activity or motion



Legal Definition of stop (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of stopping specifically : a temporary detention that constitutes a limited seizure of a person for the purpose of inquiry or investigation and that must be based on reasonable suspicion — see also terry stop — compare arrest

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More from Merriam-Webster on stop

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stop

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stop

Spanish Central: Translation of stop

Nglish: Translation of stop for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stop for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about stop

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