Definition of position in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /pəˈzɪʃ(ə)n/


1A place where someone or something is located or has been put: the distress call had given the ship’s position Mrs Snell took up her position on the bottom step of the stairs
More example sentences
  • This is determined by the simple expedient of the listener holding a microphone to locate their position in the room.
  • He made another important contribution in using a grid to locate positions of places on the Earth.
  • Bringing the pole down into a horizontal position, my right arm out behind me, locating the position of my left hand was easy.
location, place, situation, spot, site, locality, locale, scene, setting, area, point;
whereabouts, bearings, orientation
Australian/New Zealand slang possy
technical locus
1.1 [mass noun] The correct location of someone or something: sew the band into position make sure that no slates have slipped out of position
More example sentences
  • Everybody is going away to think about what the best way is to manoeuvre the cross into position.
  • Alex poured another glass of whiskey and watched the new chunks of ice settle into position.
  • The rib was then raised into position, and pulled sideways to connect to the dovetails on the cross supports.
1.2 (often positions) A place where part of a military force is posted for strategic purposes: the guns were shelling the German positions
More example sentences
  • The attacks coincided with Afghan opposition forces shelling enemy positions in the strategic northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
  • Around Karbala, Iraqi defenders pounded suspected military positions in the ancient town.
  • Has it occurred to anyone that a US military force's field positions might be covertly mapped by an opposing force with the foresight to invest in a pie-tin and an RFID reader?
2A particular way in which someone or something is placed or arranged: he moved himself into a reclining position [mass noun]: cramp forced her to change position
More example sentences
  • The walls, which can be moved to any number of positions, have been arranged so that visitors can enjoy intriguing and compelling vistas of Klee's works.
  • When pasting the red paper on the door, the character fu must be arranged in an upside-down position.
  • The big pile of bedding to the left is our futons which I've expertly arranged into a sitting position.
posture, stance, attitude, pose;
set, arrangement, disposition, placement
2.1The configuration of the pieces and pawns on the board at any point in a game of chess.
Example sentences
  • What the better players had remembered, in other words, was not so much the positions of the chess pieces but the overall situations.
  • In the endgame, the Bishop pair is particularly superior in positions with pawns on both sides of the board.
  • In our first game, White went for a position with doubled pawns in order to obtain a pair of Bishops.
2.2 Music A particular location of the hand on the fingerboard of a stringed instrument: be familiar with the first six positions across the four strings
More example sentences
  • In addition, an animated instrument displays the exact notes to be played, highlighting correct keys or fingering positions.
  • As his memorized finger positions formed he lifted his head and began to sing, focusing on the crowd in front of him, it was larger than what they were used to yet it didn't seem that intimidating now.
  • Students can view their hand positions, posture and essentially take each lesson home with them for review.
2.3 Music The arrangement of the constituent notes of a chord.
Example sentences
  • Each position is diagrammed, and the first new finger number is circled on the staff.
  • While one positive aspect of this approach is that it lends itself to positions other than middle C, therein also lies the problem.
  • Finger positions can be marked for the suggested fingering of the chord.
3A situation, especially as it affects one’s power to act: the company’s financial position is grim [with infinitive]: we were not in a position to judge the merits of the case
More example sentences
  • Any significant increase in costs could affect the financial position adversely.
  • I am not in a position to judge the financial standing of either company.
  • After all, the government says it will continuously review its position as the situation changes.
situation, state, condition, circumstances, set of circumstances, state of affairs, case;
predicament, plight, pass, strait(s)
3.1 [mass noun] The state of being placed where one has an advantage over one’s rivals or competitors: sleek motor launches jostled for position
More example sentences
  • They did this by making them hungry and impressing the club's secondary position to their rivals.
  • In that case, the Government will be in a more advantageous position as a huge amount can be collected in tax.
  • With some precautions, women can regain their advantageous position in the healthy heart race.
advantage, pole position, advantageous position, favourable position, the upper hand, the edge, the whip hand, primacy
North American informal the catbird seat
Australian/New Zealand informal the box seat
3.2A person’s place or level of importance in relation to others: he made up ground to finish in second position
More example sentences
  • Everyone wants to play for each other, but we're all in different positions at club level, so some will be out to prove a point
  • I am now considering my options in relation to my position in the Labour party.
  • I feel languorous about my world, and of my position and importance in it.
3.3 [mass noun] High rank or social standing: a woman of supposed wealth and position
More example sentences
  • They have a different social position to ordinary rank and file union members.
  • The judges were powerful men and their social rank and position inspired loyalty.
  • Such a man or woman is slave to his or her social position and wealth.
status, place, level, rank, grade, grading, rating, standing, station, footing;
stature, prestige, influence, reputation, repute, importance, consequence, class
3.4A job: she retired from her position as marketing director
More example sentences
  • There are some paid positions, but at levels below what any mainstream publication would consider a skeleton staff.
  • It usually appoints its cronies to positions of importance.
  • At that time, I was running for elections for the position of external relations Officer.
job, day job, post, situation, appointment, role, occupation, employment;
office, capacity, duty, function;
opening, vacancy, niche, opportunity, placement
informal berth
Australian informal grip
archaic employ
3.5(In team games) a role assigned to a particular player based on the location in which they play: he looks best in central midfield, his own preferred position
More example sentences
  • Don't we need provisions in player contracts that require the players to accept positions on the Olympic team?
  • The team spent the rest of the draft wisely looking for backups at depth-shy positions and special team players.
  • Third base once was a position flush with players with outsize offensive numbers.
4A person’s point of view or attitude towards something: the party’s position on abortion
More example sentences
  • What is worse is that they assume that their view constitutes a feminist position on the issue.
  • Is it possible to take a position on violence as a means towards an end, regardless of the nature of that end?
  • Opinions, ideas, viewpoints, positions, perspectives, angles, impressions - now these I can handle.
point of view, viewpoint, opinion, way of thinking, outlook, attitude, stand, standpoint, stance, posture, angle, perspective, approach, slant, thinking, policy, thoughts, ideas, sentiments, feelings
5The extent to which an investor, dealer, or speculator has made a commitment in the market by buying or selling securities: traders were covering short positions
More example sentences
  • Many hedge funds continue to make money when stock markets are falling because the investment managers take short positions in stocks.
  • They kept on buying bonds and hedged themselves with short positions in the commodity market.
  • We suspect that many players hit with losses in the credit markets have been forced to also cover short positions in the stock market.
6 Logic A proposition laid down or asserted; a tenet or assertion.
Example sentences
  • The first is that inconsistency is readily avoided by a little care in the formulation of the sceptical position.
  • This position might, to contrast it with Moore's objectivism, be called subjectivism.
  • Rather, the argument in each of these chapters is deductive from the theoretical positions worked out in the first two chapters.


[with object and adverbial]
1Put or arrange (someone or something) in a particular place or way: he pulled out a chair and positioned it between them she positioned herself on a bench
More example sentences
  • The rain stopped as soon as we had positioned ourselves in the doors and windows overlooking the lawn and the porch.
  • The staff can keep an eye on everyone from their centrally positioned work station.
  • The cafeteria lunch servers are positioned near the doors with bags of chips, cookies, and soda in case you need a quick recharge.
put, place, locate, situate, set, site, stand, station;
lay, lie, rest, prop, plant, stick, install, settle;
arrange, dispose, array, range, lay out, deploy;
orient, orientate
informal plonk, park
rare posit
1.1Promote (a product, service, or business) within a particular sector of a market, or as the fulfilment of that sector’s specific requirements: a development plan which will position the city as a major economic force in the region
More example sentences
  • McGowan is positioning the company for a big shake-out of underperforming operations.
  • Companies are also positioning their ad campaigns to this effect.
  • He will, at the very least, see the addition of Your and Legend as giving him some greater clout and positioning the company for another assault.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin positio(n-), from ponere 'to place'. The current sense of the verb dates from the early 19th century.

Words that rhyme with position

academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), ambition, audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pos|ition

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.