Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The state or quality of being stable, especially:
  • n. Resistance to change, deterioration, or displacement.
  • n. Constancy of character or purpose; steadfastness.
  • n. Reliability; dependability.
  • n. The ability of an object, such as a ship or aircraft, to maintain equilibrium or resume its original, upright position after displacement, as by the sea or strong winds.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church A vow committing a Benedictine monk to one monastery for life.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The condition of being stable or in equilibrium, and thus resistant to change
  • n. The tendency to recover from perturbations

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state or quality of being stable, or firm; steadiness; stableness; firmness; strength to stand without being moved or overthrown
  • n. Steadiness or firmness of character; firmness of resolution or purpose; the quality opposite to fickleness, irresolution, or inconstancy; constancy; steadfastness.
  • n. Fixedness; -- as opposed to fluidity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state or property of being stable or firm; strength to stand and resist overthrow or change; stableness; firmness: as, the stability of a building, of a government, or of a system.
  • n. Steadiness or firmness, as of purpose or resolution; fixity of character; steadfastness: the opposite of fickleness and inconstancy.
  • n. Fixedness, as opposed to fluidity.
  • n. Continuance in the same state; permanence; specifically, an additional or fourth vow of continuance in the same profession, and residence for life in the same monastery, imposed upon monks by the Benedictine rule.
  • n. That character of equilibrium, or of a body in equilibrium, in virtue of which, if the position is disturbed, it tends to be restored.
  • n. Synonyms and
  • n. Immobility, permanence. See stable.
  • n. Molecular stability, permanence of condition as regards the arrangement of the molecules: said of metals which, by repeated annealing, have been brought into a state in which further changes of dimensions or structure do not occur.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the quality of being enduring and free from change or variation
  • n. a stable order (especially of society)
  • n. the quality or attribute of being firm and steadfast

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French stabilité, from Latin root of stabilitas ("firmness, steadfastness"), from stabilis ("steadfast, firm") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Thus the prominent foreign policy analyst James Chace was properly using the term "stability" in its technical sense when he explained that in order to achieve "stability" in Chile it was necessary to "destabilize" the country by overthrowing the elected government of Salvador Allende and installing the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

    Is the World Too Big to Fail? The Contours of Global Order

  • That I think the operations in about three quarters of that country will probably shift in the near future to what we call stability operations where the reconstruction that's so important for the long-term stability and prosperity of the Afghan people will take place and will enable other nongovernmental organizations and so forth to come in.

    CNN Transcript Dec 23, 2002

  • If you're benching, the chains are rattling and you kind of feel the weight changing, so you have to make sure your stability is there, and also you add a lot more weight to it.

    Brian Orakpo, his Web site and chains

  • Related Article Another Theater for S&P Drama Port Town's Prosecutors Probe S&P, Moody's Earlier Call to Downsize Giants of Ratings 08/10/2011 To give their ratings what they call "stability," the ratings firms tend to focus on static indicators that change slowly, like current-account balances.

    Raters Fail to See Defaults Coming

  • Washington says it will need more personnel and a bigger embassy to supervise the distribution of the increased aid to Pakistan, and more mercenaries (aka "contractors") to protect them and assure "stability" - a code word for the Pax Americana.

    Eric Margolis: Lies Drive the Afghan War

  • It's ok, don't strain yourself ... its called stability, which is nowhere in sight and not likely for years.

    Palin's pregnant daughter: Does it matter to voters?

  • CHO: The NTSB will be conducting what it calls a stability test.

    CNN Transcript Oct 5, 2005

  • Then after the regime fell, and the transition between maneuver combat to what they call stability and support operations, or the current counterinsurgency, there was a lot of movement by those that wanted to fight the coalition to confiscate, move, hide, move to and secure themselves these weapons for future use.

    CNN Transcript Nov 26, 2004

  • Round two, now we're in what we call stability and support operations where we're dealing with, as you pointed out earlier, just these people running around without uniforms on, etcetera.

    CNN Transcript May 16, 2004

  • We're thinking very seriously about moving into what we call stability operations in most of the country, where we'll work, focus on reconstruction efforts.

    CNN Transcript Dec 21, 2002

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