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 Maybe everything around you is a simulation or an illusion with the possible exception of your Peloton machine because a $2000 or so stationary bike had better be real. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 2 Oct. 2021 He was dressed out for Auburn and went through warmups but spent much of the game on the sideline and loosening up on the stationary exercise bike. Tom Green |, al, 29 Sep. 2021 Beth Helmstetter, the founder and principal of Beth Helmstetter Events, based in Los Angeles, hired an artist to create a sketch that was used on stationary as well as on the dance floor. New York Times, 28 July 2021 For this research, Webb and his team divided does into two categories: traveling/moving and encamped/stationary. Brad Fitzpatrick, Outdoor Life, 16 Nov. 2020 And researchers can deal with heavy, more stationary quarks by pinning them to one spot. Quanta Magazine, 27 Sep. 2021 Commercial and residential buildings in the U.S. are now responsible for approximately 18,300 early deaths and $205 billion in health impacts—one-third of the health burden from stationary source pollution. Energy Innovation: Policy And Technology, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 The health order urges people to be seated at a table or positioned at a stationary counter while eating or drinking, which Breed appeared to be most of the time. Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Sep. 2021 As the image below shows, a rather concentrated region of thunderstorm cells erupted and remained nearly stationary over the same regions. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for stationary

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near stationary



stationary air

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Statistics for stationary

Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stationary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for stationary



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

More from Merriam-Webster on stationary

Nglish: Translation of stationary for Spanish Speakers


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