Definition of pause in English:

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Pronunciation: /pôz/


[no object]
1Interrupt action or speech briefly: she paused, at a loss for words
More example sentences
  • They wandered about a little while, pausing briefly to pull on their boots.
  • He might pause at the office briefly before leaving for the day.
  • She pulled the wrapping paper from the gift, pausing only briefly at the nondescript box.
stop, cease, halt, discontinue, break off, take a break;
adjourn, rest, wait, hesitate, falter, waver
informal take a breather, take five
1.1 [with object] Temporarily interrupt the operation of (a videotape, audiotape, or computer program): she had paused a tape on the VCR
More example sentences
  • Trying to deal with the embarrassing situation, the reporter had to pause the camera, comfort him and patiently tell him what he needed to say.
  • Fay squealed seconds later, pausing the tape and pointing at the figure on the screen.
  • Users can pause live TV, rewind and set up recordings - all without an advanced degree in VCR technology.


1A temporary stop in action or speech: she dropped me outside during a brief pause in the rain the admiral chattered away without pause
More example sentences
  • It's a text without spacing, a speech without pause for breath.
  • I heard the shower stop, a brief pause, then the whirr of an electric toothbrush started up.
  • After a brief pause, it stopped momentarily on another tree.
adjournment, suspension, rest, wait, hesitation
informal letup, breather
1.1 Music A mark over a note or rest that is to be lengthened by an unspecified amount; a fermata.
Example sentences
  • In the 5th Symphony he dispenses with the pause before the finale.
  • There are a few pauses in the Allegro moderato and the final movement is quite thrilling in its peroration.
  • Top it off with arrhythmic choruses drenched in vocoder effects and music pauses, and you have the blueprint for the entire album.
1.2 (also pause button) A control allowing the temporary interruption of an electronic (or mechanical) process, especially video or audio recording or reproduction.
Example sentences
  • You press the pause button and a series of commercials start playing… who should get the money?
  • Press the pause button, take a leak, come back and continue watching from where you left off.
  • The same effect could be achieved by using the pause button on a DVD player.


give someone pause

Cause someone to think carefully or hesitate before doing something: public outrage has given him pause
More example sentences
  • I completely understand that, and, to be honest, it gives me pause for thought.
  • Now there's something to give you pause for thought.
  • If it doesn't give you pause for thought, even in a world besieged by bad news, you aren't paying attention.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin pausa, from Greek pausis, from pausein 'to stop'.

  • Pause goes back to Greek pausis, from pausein ‘to stop’. This is the same root as repose (Late Middle English), and pose (ME as a verb, but only E19th as a noun). The French word poseur was adopted in the late 19th century. See also puzzle

Words that rhyme with pause

applause, Azores, cause, clause, Dors, drawers, gauze, hawse, indoors, Laws, outdoors, plus-fours, quatorze, Santa Claus, taws, tawse, yaws, yours

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pause

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