\ ˈpȯz How to pronounce pause (audio) \

Definition of pause

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a temporary stop
2a : a break in a verse
b : a brief suspension of the voice to indicate the limits and relations of sentences and their parts
3 : temporary inaction especially as caused by uncertainty : hesitation
4a : the sign denoting a fermata
b : a mark (such as a period or comma) used in writing or printing to indicate or correspond to a pause of voice
5 : a reason or cause for pausing (as to reconsider) a thought that should give one pause
6 : a function of an electronic device that pauses a recording


paused; pausing

Definition of pause (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to stop temporarily
2 : to linger for a time

transitive verb

: to cause to pause : stop

Synonyms for pause

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of pause in a Sentence

Noun There was a brief pause in the conversation. After a pause the teacher continued the lesson. He hit pause on the player and explained the significance of the song's lyrics. Please hit the pause button on the remote control. Verb She paused for a few seconds before crossing the street. We paused briefly to look at the scenery. He talked for over an hour without pausing. He picked up the remote control and paused the movie.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hold on for one more stay: Prior to the Ohio Supreme Court’s redistricting ruling, a federal judge placed a 60-day pause on a lawsuit challenging the state’s new state legislative and congressional maps. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, 13 Jan. 2022 Returning to play after a several-week pause, the energy between Atholton and River Hill boys basketball was palpable in the gym. Jacob Steinberg,, 12 Jan. 2022 The Louisville women's basketball team is back from its COVID-19 pause. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, 12 Jan. 2022 The Broncos just exited a COVID pause after missing three games. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Jan. 2022 The Ducks were not on the Bruins’ home schedule during the 2019-2020 season and were on a COVID-19 pause when the teams were supposed to play at Pauley Pavilion in January 2021. Los Angeles Times, 12 Jan. 2022 Mitchell, meanwhile, after one more lengthy pause, addressed the other persistent problem. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Jan. 2022 And more like the beginning of something bigger for the SEC than a pause in the dynasty for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. Joseph Goodman |, al, 11 Jan. 2022 Short of that, the union sought a two-week pause in in-person instruction until the city could put additional safety measures in place, such as providing N-95-style masks to all students and staff, using health screeners and other protocols. Joe Barrett, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And yet, there is reason to pause before going full hog-on. Allison Hope, CNN, 22 Dec. 2021 Even free trips to places like the beach give their parents pause. Los Angeles Times, 9 Dec. 2021 If Nestlé’s remaining L’Oréal stock were sold to a third party, investors might not get such a handsome after-tax windfall, giving the Swiss company a reason to pause. Carol Ryan, WSJ, 8 Dec. 2021 Quinine appears again, but the latter element should give people pause, as strychnine is an extremely potent poison. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Nov. 2021 Some added that recent controversies involving the DCHA board of commissioners have also given them pause. Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2021 Corso, who had an interesting take on the Alabama-Georgia in terms of the SEC title game and CFP picture earlier in the day, gave fans a reason to pause. Mark Heim |, al, 9 Oct. 2021 But resume gaps can still give some employers pause. Sarah Todd, Quartz, 21 Sep. 2021 Castelaz acknowledges that beet might give some customers pause. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Sep. 2021

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

History and Etymology for pause


Middle English, from Latin pausa, from Greek pausis, from pauein to stop

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Time Traveler for pause

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near pause




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Statistics for pause

Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pause.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for pause



English Language Learners Definition of pause

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a temporary stop : a period of time in which something is stopped before it is started again
: a control that you use when you want to stop a recorded song, movie, etc., for a short time
: the sign that is placed over or under a musical note, rest, etc., to show that it should be held longer than usual



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

: to stop doing something for a short time before doing it again
: to cause (a recorded song, movie, etc.) to stop for a short time by pushing a button on a device


\ ˈpȯz How to pronounce pause (audio) \

Kids Definition of pause

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a temporary stop
2 : a sign 𝄐 above a musical note or rest to show that the note or rest is to be held longer


paused; pausing

Kids Definition of pause (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stop for a time : make a temporary stop He paused, perhaps waiting for me to explain.— Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted

More from Merriam-Webster on pause

Nglish: Translation of pause for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pause for Arabic Speakers


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