stay 1 of 4

as in to wait
to remain in place in readiness or expectation of something we'll stay for a while longer and see if anyone shows up

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 4

verb (2)

as in to sustain
to hold up or serve as a foundation for beams being used to stay the bridge while it is undergoing repairs

Synonyms & Similar Words


3 of 4

noun (1)


4 of 4

noun (2)

Synonym Chooser

How is the word stay distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of stay are defer, postpone, and suspend. While all these words mean "to delay an action or proceeding," stay often suggests the stopping or checking by an intervening agency or authority.

the governor stayed the execution

When might defer be a better fit than stay?

The words defer and stay are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, defer implies a deliberate putting off to a later time.

deferred buying a car until spring

When would postpone be a good substitute for stay?

The meanings of postpone and stay largely overlap; however, postpone implies an intentional deferring usually to a definite time.

the game is postponed until Saturday

Where would suspend be a reasonable alternative to stay?

The words suspend and stay can be used in similar contexts, but suspend implies temporary stoppage with an added suggestion of waiting until some condition is satisfied.

business will be suspended while repairs are underway

Thesaurus Entries Near stay

Cite this Entry

“Stay.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on stay

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