from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To cease or suspend an action temporarily.
  • intransitive verb To hesitate.
  • intransitive verb To linger; tarry.
  • intransitive verb To cease or suspend the action of temporarily; stop for an interim.
  • noun A break, stop, or rest, often for a calculated purpose or effect.
  • noun A delay or suspended reaction, as from uncertainty; a hesitation.
  • noun Delay or hesitation.
  • noun Reason for hesitation.
  • noun Music A sign, such as a fermata, indicating that a note or rest is to be held.
  • noun A break or rest in a line of poetry; a caesura.
  • noun A control mechanism on an audio or video player that halts the playing of a recording and permits playing to be easily resumed from the same point.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A temporary stop or rest; a cessation or intermission of action or motion, as of speaking, singing, or playing.
  • noun A cessation proceeding from doubt or uncertainty; hesitation; suspense.
  • noun A break or rest in writing or speaking.
  • noun In musical notation: A rest, or sign for silence. See rest.
  • noun A fermata or hold, or indicating that a note is to be prolonged at the pleasure of the performer.
  • noun Stopping-place; conclusion; ultimate point.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Synonyms Intermission, Rest, etc. See stop.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
  • noun temporary inactivity
  • verb cease an action temporarily
  • verb 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


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

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • 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.

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

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

    CNN Transcript Mar 30, 2003 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.

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  • 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.

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

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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 2008


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

    February 11, 2008