Definitions

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

  • n. A tie or draw, as in a contest.
  • n. A situation in which one force neutralizes or counterbalances the other.
  • n. A standoff insulator.
  • adj. Standoffish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A device which maintains a fixed distance between two objects, especially between a surface and a sign or electrical wiring.
  • n. A deadlocked confrontation between antagonists (see stand off and verb below).
  • v. Nonstandard spelling of stand off.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Serving to keep two objects or parts of a machine separated.
  • n. A situation in a contest in which the winner is undecided; a draw or stalemate.
  • n. A successful stand.
  • n. Something that serves to keep one object at a distance from another, such as a prop attached to the top of a ladder to keep it from leaning directly against the vertical surface which suports it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Holding others off; distant; reserved.
  • n. A holding or keeping off; a counteraction.

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

  • n. the finish of a contest in which the score is tied and the winner is undecided
  • n. the act of repulsing or repelling an attack; a successful defensive stand

Etymologies

stand +‎ off (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Emery called to say that she and William had delayed the christening once more, over a name standoff this time.

    The Little Lady Agency and the Prince

  • Now, that goes along with sporadic continued violence in the town of Fallujah, and that town has been a trouble spot ever since April when U.S. forces opened fire in what they call the standoff with demonstrators, killing more than 15 and injuring dozens more.

    CNN Transcript Jun 9, 2003

  • The political opposition has also criticized the government for putting Jamaica into what it calls a standoff over Coke, who is known for his loyalty to the Jamaica Labor Party.

    The Shad Plank

  • What to watch now: How the new House Speaker handles a trio of defining challenges: The short term standoff over funding the government; the looming budget wars; and pressure from the Tea Party base to extract major "concessions" in exchange for raising the federal debt ceiling.

    The Morning Plum

  • And the question for the administration is can you make progress in this bigger, long-term standoff over the nuclear program and North Korea's role in the world, its belligerent rhetoric, and resolve this other issue separately, if you will, or if there is linkage, not in a way that then undermines what the president just said.

    CNN Transcript Jun 16, 2009

  • To give some perspective on how serious this standoff could be, the Arabic word Taliban means student.

    CNN Transcript Jul 8, 2007

  • But the compelling standoff is Martz 'premium-octane offense against Belichick's defense.

    USATODAY.com - Rams, Pats ready to make their moves

  • So it's really too soon to say if this is getting into a long-term standoff or if this is just an assessment before they push the initiative and try and catch some of them -- Anderson.

    CNN Transcript Mar 19, 2004

  • QUESTION: What you describe as a standoff, might that be interpreted differently?

    CNN Transcript - Breaking News: Gunman Shout Outside of White House - February 7, 2001

  • What we have here, gentlemen, is called a standoff.

    Come the Spring

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