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Syllabification: stare
Pronunciation: /ster

Definition of stare in English:


[no object]
1Look fixedly or vacantly at someone or something with one’s eyes wide open: he stared at her in amazement Robin sat staring into space, her mind numb
More example sentences
  • The rest of us sat staring into space, apparently waiting for an answer to arrive like a visitor from the spirit world.
  • I just couldn't muster the willpower to finish them off and was just sat staring into space.
  • This meant that I had low energy and I tended to sit and stare into space.
gaze, gape, goggle, glare, ogle, peer
informal gawk, rubberneck
1.1(Of a person’s eyes) be wide open, with a fixed or vacant expression: her gray eyes stared back at him
More example sentences
  • They were like the zombies of paradise, their mouths hanging open, their eyes staring up at the screen.
  • His fists pumped the air, wide eyes staring at the night sky that he had thought he would never see again.
  • Her mask had gone and her eyes were staring, wide with obvious panic but unseeing.
1.2(Of a thing) be unpleasantly prominent or striking: the obituaries stared out at us
More example sentences
  • He finally turned his gaze to her, his glare seeming to stare straight into her soul.
  • Just a few feet off the starboard bow, the bloated carcass of a full-grown steer stared back at us.


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A long fixed or vacant look: she gave him a cold stare
More example sentences
  • He gave me a cold stare and returned his attention to his girlfriend.
  • He returned his cold stare to the carefree couple below and fantasized about his victory.
  • She gazed at him in wonder, and he returned her stare with a look of friendly curiosity.


Old English starian, of Germanic origin, from a base meaning 'be rigid'.


be staring something in the face

Be on the verge of something inevitable or inescapable: our team was staring defeat in the face
More example sentences
  • When Steve Prescott scored his second just after the break Salford were staring a hefty defeat in the face.
  • Football League oblivion is staring the club in the face.
  • Just four months ago, the LDP was staring an electoral disaster in the face.

stare someone in the eye (or face)

Look fixedly or boldly at someone.
Example sentences
  • The reporter was stunned by an official staring him in the eye and telling a straight lie.
  • It makes you work - the bad review staring you in the face.
  • It's logical not to want a soulless existence in an air-conditioned office, with a PC staring you in the face and stack of returns to input.

stare someone in the face

Be glaringly apparent or obvious: the answer had been staring him in the face
More example sentences
  • But sometimes you don't need to ask questions because the answer is staring you in the face.
  • The answer is staring us in the face and organisations need to get on and do something about it.
  • I know that the answer is staring me in the face, I just can't see it.

Phrasal verbs

stare someone down

Look fixedly at someone until they feel forced to lower their eyes or turn away.
Example sentences
  • He stared me down, a bit unnervingly I might add.
  • Charlie continued to stare me down with a very intimidating gaze.
  • And it's difficult to feel relaxed and contented at home if you've got the house-mate from hell staring you down across the kitchen.



Example sentences
  • Johansson loves the fact that she's now someone others stare at because she's a self-confessed starer.
  • The stare-down occurs if the said starer just feels the other girl is prettier.
  • Sheldrake suggests that the two starers may have differed in their beliefs concerning the ability to detect unseen staring.

Definition of stare in:

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