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

  • intransitive v. To cease or suspend an action temporarily.
  • intransitive v. To linger; tarry: paused for a while under the huge oak tree.
  • intransitive v. To hesitate: He paused before replying.
  • transitive v. To cease or suspend the action of temporarily; stop for an interim: "Once a movie [ordered on demand] begins, it can be paused but not rewound or fast-forwarded” ( George Judson).
  • n. A temporary cessation.
  • n. A delay or suspended reaction, as from uncertainty; a hesitation: After a pause the audience broke into cheers.
  • n. A break, stop, or rest, often for a calculated purpose or effect: After a dramatic pause, the lawyer finished her summation.
  • n. Music A sign indicating that a note or rest is to be held.
  • n. A break or rest in a line of poetry; a caesura.
  • n. Reason for hesitation: The immensity of the task gives one pause.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To interrupt current work and do something else for a moment.
  • n. A short time for relaxing and doing something else.
  • n. Alternative spelling of Pause (“a button that pauses or resumes something”).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A temporary stop or rest; an intermission of action; interruption; suspension; cessation.
  • n. Temporary inaction or waiting; hesitation; suspence; doubt.
  • n. In speaking or reading aloud, a brief arrest or suspension of voice, to indicate the limits and relations of sentences and their parts.
  • n. In writing and printing, a mark indicating the place and nature of an arrest of voice in reading; a punctuation point.
  • n. A break or paragraph in writing.
  • n. A hold. See 4th Hold, 7.
  • intransitive v. To make a short stop; to cease for a time; to intermit speaking or acting; to stop; to wait; to rest.
  • intransitive v. To be intermitted; to cease.
  • intransitive v. To hesitate; to hold back; to delay.
  • intransitive v. To stop in order to consider; hence, to consider; to reflect.
  • transitive v. To cause to stop or rest; -- used reflexively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a temporary stop or intermission; cease to speak or act for a time.
  • To wait; tarry; forbear for a time.
  • To stop for consideration or reflection; deliberate: sometimes with upon before the object of consideration or deliberation.
  • To hesitate; hold back; be shy or reluctant.
  • Reflexively, to repose one's self; hence, to stop; cease from action.
  • To dwell; linger: with upon.
  • Synonyms and To stay, delay, tarry.
  • n. A temporary stop or rest; a cessation or intermission of action or motion, as of speaking, singing, or playing.
  • n. A cessation proceeding from doubt or uncertainty; hesitation; suspense.
  • n. A break or rest in writing or speaking.
  • n. In musical notation: A rest, or sign for silence. See rest.
  • n. A fermata or hold, or indicating that a note is to be prolonged at the pleasure of the performer.
  • n. Stopping-place; conclusion; ultimate point.
  • n. In prosody, an interval in a succession of metrical times, corresponding to a time or times in the rhythm, but not represented by any syllable or syllables in the text.
  • n. Synonyms Intermission, Rest, etc. See stop.

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

  • n. a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
  • n. temporary inactivity
  • v. cease an action temporarily
  • v. interrupt temporarily an activity before continuing


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

From Middle English, pause, from Old French, from Latin pausa, from Greek pausis, from pauein, to stop.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French pause, from Latin pausa, from Ancient Greek παῦσις


  • II. i.32 (159,9) [tho 'she pause] To _pause_ is to rest, to be in quiet.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies

  • And, of course, it was just hours after President Bush said that he considered the term pause to be misleading because there was going to be no pause in operations.

    CNN Transcript Apr 10, 2008

  • "I think we're probably on a short term pause to really get the fear and the psychology into the right perspective."

    For Some, Rude End to IPO Dreams

  • Clearly, this term pause, much debated, does not apply to the air war.

    CNN Transcript Mar 30, 2003

  • Goldman Sachs economist Alberto Ramos , noting that the bank's decision to hike rates wasn't unanimous, says the a "near term pause in the rate hike cycle looks increasingly in the cards," although he said the bank still may push the rate a bit higher during the second half of 2011.

    Colombia Lifts Key Bank Rate

  • For a full second we stood in pause — I, with legs spread, and arched and tense, body thrown forward, right arm horizontal and straight out; Fortini, his blade beyond me so far that hilt and hand just rested lightly against my left breast, his body rigid, his eyes open and shining.

    Chapter 11

  • There was no rest, never a moment's pause from the cheerless, heart-breaking battle.


  • A semicolon pause is longer than a comma pause and shorter than a period/full stop pause.

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » On Semicolons

  • Maybe there are some true consultant masterminds out there for whom every pause is a dogwhistle to pundits, for whom every turn of phrase is frought with Da Vinci Code-like hidden meaning -- I haven't covered them.

    The Paranoid Style of American Punditry - Swampland -

  • A good poet has to have an ear for punctuation, determining what sort of a pause is needed to maintain the meter, and what kind is necessary to make a convoluted sentence clear.

    2008 September « Motivated Grammar


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  • The possibility of a Huckabee presidency would give many independent voters (and this newspaper) pause. »

    February 11, 2008