Definition of stop in English:

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Pronunciation: /stɒp/

verb (stops, stopping, stopped)

1 [no object] (Of an event, action, or process) come to an end; cease to happen: his laughter stopped as quickly as it had begun the rain had stopped and the clouds had cleared
More example sentences
  • Remember, your muscle growth stops when your protein does.
  • If applied to the scalp twice daily, it may produce some hair growth but is expensive and hair growth stops when treatment is stopped.
  • The man slumped down and signalled for an inhaler so a medic was called, but the ordeal did not stop there.
come to an end, come to a stop, cease, end, finish, draw to a close, be over, conclude, terminate, come to a standstill;
pause, break off;
peter out, fade away
1.1 [with present participle] Cease to perform a specified action or have a specified experience: she stopped giggling [with object]: he stopped work for tea
More example sentences
  • One child was so traumatised by the experience she could not stop vomiting and had to be hospitalised.
  • I'm trying to stay calm but every time I see the adverts on the telly, I can't stop smiling or giggling.
  • The others managed not to laugh and my girlfriend poked me to make me stop giggling, but that just made it funnier to me.
cease, discontinue, refrain from, desist from, forbear from, break off, call a halt to, call it a day;
give up, abandon, abstain from, cut out;
Nautical  belay
informal quit, leave off, knock off, pack in, lay off, give over, jack in
1.2 [with present participle] Abandon a specified practice or habit: I’ve stopped eating meat
More example sentences
  • The British charity has gone on the offensive to persuade British people to stop eating meat.
  • I doubt that you became allergic to dairy and meats because you stopped eating them.
  • Anyway you can't just suddenly stop eating meat like that, it's hard.
1.3Stop moving or operating: he stopped to look at the view my watch has stopped
More example sentences
  • Early Friday morning, the captain announced that the engine had stopped and the ship was taking on water.
  • The problem is, what if the engine stops while he is already on the fast lane of a nearby toll road?
  • You would be cruising along and, suddenly without warning, the engine just stopped.
1.4(Of a bus or train) call at a designated place to pick up or set down passengers: main-line trains stop at platform 7
More example sentences
  • Passenger trains began stopping at North Parkdale station by January 1883.
  • The regular train came along, stopped, picked her up and off she went.
  • The train stopped and my girlfriend grabbed me by the arm and led me out of the train.
1.5British informal Stay somewhere for a short time: you’ll have to stop the night
More example sentences
  • The walking party stopped at bed and breakfasts overnight during their gruelling hike.
2 [with object] Cause (an action, process, or event) to come to an end: this harassment has got to be stopped
More example sentences
  • They're going to try to do it and I don't think they are going to be capable of stopping the political process.
  • It's a lot harder to stop a ritual process midway than to avoid the process entirely.
  • And so far, the injections have only stopped the degenerative process, not reversed it.
put an end to, put a stop to, bring to an end, end, bring to a stop, halt, bring to a halt;
finish, bring to a close, terminate, bring to a standstill, wind up, discontinue, cut short, interrupt, nip in the bud;
immobilize, paralyse, deactivate, shut down
2.1Prevent (an action or event) from happening: a security guard was killed trying to stop a raid
More example sentences
  • So far, you have not been able to do anything to stop the events from happening.
  • But one year on and still no significant step has been taken to stop another disaster happening.
  • His ability to stop the opponents' creative play is much needed in a team brimming with playmakers.
thwart, baulk, foil, frustrate, stand in the way of, forestall;
scotch, derail
informal put paid to, put the stopper on, put the kibosh on, do for, stymie
British informal scupper
2.2Prevent or dissuade (someone) from continuing in an activity or achieving an aim: a campaign is under way to stop the bombers
More example sentences
  • But she is certain that the lack of a bike and the fact the she is not a fan of exercise will not stop her.
  • We didn't let that stop us and we continued to court and we were always together.
  • I love flying both types and will continue until someone stops me, but the fact remains that a mistake in a sailplane is much more likely to kill you than in a hang glider.
prevent, hinder, obstruct, impede, block, bar, preclude;
dissuade from
2.3 [with object and present participle] Prevent (someone or something) from performing a specified action or undergoing a specified experience: several attempts were made to stop him giving evidence you can’t stop me from getting what I want
More example sentences
  • I know a farmer who has to patrol his fields with a shotgun when the hunt is on to stop the dogs from destroying his fences and going on his land.
  • She covered her mouth tightly and stopped herself from either agreeing or refusing.
  • Kiara had to clamp her hand over her mouth in order to stop herself from exploding with laughter.
2.4Cause or order to cease moving or operating: he stopped his car by the house police were given powers to stop and search suspects
More example sentences
  • He was stopped, ordered out of the car and a computer check showed the car had been reported stolen.
  • She tried to get upstairs but was stopped and also ordered to get down onto the floor.
  • But there was no mechanical defect which would have caused the car to have been stopped and parked.
pull up, draw up, come to a stop, come to a halt, come to rest, pull in, pull over;
Australian  prop
2.5 informal Be hit by (a bullet).
2.6Instruct a bank to withhold payment on (a cheque): he grew nervous about the deal and asked his bank manager to stop the cheque
More example sentences
  • The defendant stopped the cheque, which was accordingly dishonoured by the drawee bank.
  • Don't try and stop the cheque if you want to pay online or over the phone instead.
  • Most banks charge, typically £10, for stopping a cheque.
2.7Refuse to supply as usual; withhold or deduct: they stopped the strikers' wages
withhold, suspend, keep back, hold back, refuse to pay, cut off, discontinue
2.8 Boxing Defeat (an opponent) by a knockout: he was stopped in the sixth by Tyson
More example sentences
  • He defended the title another three times, stopping his opponents on each occasion, to put himself in line for the WBA world belt.
  • Jones goes on to make six defenses of the IBF super middleweight title, stopping all six of his opponents.
  • Ouma did go ahead with the fight, stopping Woods in the 11th round.
2.9Pinch back (a plant).
3 [with object] Block or close up (a hole or leak): he tried to stop the hole with the heel of his boot the stile has been stopped up
More example sentences
  • Take the coconut shell and fill with yolk, stopping the hole with your finger.
  • Engineers have now secured the hole with wooden boards and an emergency plumber managed to stop the water leak and get the heating back on.
  • He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on.
block (up), plug, close (up), fill (up);
seal, caulk;
bung up, clog (up), jam (up), choke (up);
3.1British dated Put a filling in (a tooth).
3.2Block the mouth of (a fox’s earth) prior to a hunt.
Example sentences
  • Where earths have been stopped they are required by the rules to be opened up again at the end of the day's hunting.
3.3Plug the upper end of (an organ pipe), giving a note an octave lower.
3.4Obtain the required pitch from (the string of a violin or similar instrument) by pressing at the appropriate point with the finger.
Example sentences
  • All three were normally diatonic only, though players could raise the pitch by a semitone by stopping a string near the neck.
  • When a musician plays a string stopped exactly half-way along its length an octave is produced.
3.5Make (a rope) fast with a stopper.
4 [no object] West Indian Be or behave in a particular way: ‘Why was she so?’ ‘I don’t know, you know how dem old people stop.’
4.1 [with complement] Remain in a particular state or condition: he said I mustn’t stop barefooted, so I had to buy a pair of new shoes


1A cessation of movement or operation: all business came to a stop there were constant stops and changes of pace
More example sentences
  • It was almost a disappointment when we came to a stop at the edge of clearing where a herd of deer were grazing.
  • After completing a number of revolutions, the carousel began to slow and came to a stop.
  • The game we'd been playing with the boys came to a stop, and I rolled my eyes.
halt, end, finish, close, standstill;
cessation, conclusion, termination, stoppage, discontinuation, discontinuance;
1.1A break or halt during a journey: allow an hour or so for driving and as long as you like for stops the flight landed for a refuelling stop
More example sentences
  • As the self-confessed ‘biggest slob in the world’ he enjoys sailing holidays filled with impromptu tea breaks and pub stops.
  • When traveling long distances, plan the trip to include rest stops and breaks.
  • Also, make stops for bathroom breaks, leg-stretching, sightseeing and drink refills.
break, stopover, stop-off, stay, rest
formal sojourn
1.2A place designated for a bus or train to halt and pick up or set down passengers: the bus was pulling up at her stop
More example sentences
  • The bus goes off on its merry way and picks up a zillion passengers at the next stop.
  • Buses could also pick up passengers without pulling into stops.
  • Designated stops will be constructed, with special ramps to allow easy access by passengers onto the taxis and buses.
bus stop, stopping place, halt;
terminus, terminal, depot, station;
British  fare stage, stage
1.3An object or part of a mechanism which is used to prevent something from moving: the shelves have special stops to prevent them from being pulled out too far
1.4British dated A punctuation mark, especially a full stop.
full stop, full point, point;
punctuation mark;
North American  period
1.5Used in telegrams to indicate a full stop: MEET YOU AT THE AIRPORT STOP
1.6 Phonetics A consonant produced with complete closure of the vocal tract: a bilabial stop [as modifier]: stop consonants
More example sentences
  • Taiwanese has final consonant stops, and Mandarin doesn't.
  • Many varieties of Chinese, including both Mandarin and Cantonese, do not distinguish voiced and voiceless stops and affricates.
  • For example, the aspirated series of stops and affricates are written by adding a horizontal stroke to the letters for the plain series.
1.7 Bridge A high card that prevents the opponents from establishing a particular suit; a control: if West bids 3♥ now, this will show a heart stop
1.8 Nautical A short length of rope used to secure something; a stopper.
2A set of organ pipes of a particular tone and range of pitch.
2.1 (also stop knob) A knob, lever, or similar device in an organ or harpsichord which brings into play a set of pipes or strings of a particular tone and range of pitch.
Example sentences
  • Specific ranks of pipes may be brought into and out of play by means of stops.
  • These organs were played only with sliding stops, not a keyboard like a modern organ.
  • It also has a cathedral housing the biggest organ in the world: 17,388 pipes and 231 stops.
3 Photography The effective diameter of a lens.
3.1A device for reducing the effective diameter of a lens.
3.2A unit of change of relative aperture or exposure (with a reduction of one stop equivalent to halving it).
Example sentences
  • When you go through the finished prints you will be able to see the results of 2 complete stops of exposure difference.
  • Remove the film, stop down 4 stops, and give a flash exposure.
  • Underexposing by one to two stops intensifies the effect.



pull out all the stops

Make a very great effort to achieve something: we pulled out all the stops to meet the deadline
More example sentences
  • However, he is fearful that the new clause may be delayed, unless the Department of Health pulls out all the stops to make sure the new legislation is written in time.
  • But when it counts, he really pulls out all the stops and that is why we have done so well.
  • I tend to think Duncan probably pulls out all the stops to help small business people.
make an effort, exert oneself, try hard, strive, endeavour, apply oneself, do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, give one's all, make every effort, spare no effort, be at pains, put oneself out;
struggle, labour, toil, strain, push oneself, drive oneself, work hard, work like a Trojan;
rack/cudgel one's brains
informal give it one's best shot, go all out, bend/lean over backwards, put one's back into it, knock oneself out, do one's damnedest, move heaven and earth, beaver away, slog away, keep one's nose to the grindstone, work one's socks off, break sweat
North American informal do one's darnedest/durnedest, bust one's chops
Australian informal go for the doctor
1.1Do something very elaborately or on a grand scale: they gave a Christmas party and pulled out all the stops
With reference to the stops of an organ
More example sentences
  • With one glance at the palace interior, he could tell that the Oscillians had pulled out all the stops for this grand gala evening.
  • Elephant is definitely their defining moment: crashing rock that pulls out all the stops.
  • Getting a PhD is always a good thing, and Cambridge certainly pulls out all the stops when it comes to bizarre commemorative rituals, including value added Latin declamations.

put a stop to

Cause to end: she would have to put a stop to all this nonsense
More example sentences
  • If the law doesn't already contain means - effective means - of putting a stop to that, then it needs to be changed.
  • I had a couple of sparkling whites before putting a stop to that and I'm glad I did.
  • The efforts to exclude reporters and exit pollers from the polls, they put a stop to that.
bring to an end, halt, put an end to, end, bring to a stop, bring to a halt;
finish, bring to a close, terminate, bring to a standstill, wind up, discontinue, nip in the bud, put a/the lid on;
quell, quash, subdue, suppress, stifle
informal put paid to, put the kibosh on, put the stopper on, do for

stop at nothing

Be utterly ruthless or determined in one’s attempt to achieve something: he would stop at nothing to retain his power
More example sentences
  • Utterly determined to repair the Union, Lincoln would stop at nothing to achieve his aim.
  • We are faced with a deadly and determined adversary who will stop at nothing and will persevere as long as he exists.
  • The absolutist, Joseph II, who succeeded Maria Theresa, failed in his reforms, though he stopped at nothing in his attempts to carry them out.

stop dead

see dead.

stop short

see short.
Example sentences
  • A mouse runs up the side of a sack like a clockwork toy, then suddenly stops dead and watches me with his little eyes like tiny jet beads.
  • James runs into our house towards me, and suddenly stops dead, his face inches from mine.
  • Quick as a flash, the man jumps out of bed, rushes to the window and suddenly stops dead.

stop one's ears

Put one’s fingers in one’s ears to avoid hearing something: I stopped my ears but I still heard her cry
More example sentences
  • When my open-minded father learned Spanish, I stopped my ears when he played his language tapes and repeated perro 20 times.
  • As I listened to Burk and the gruesome passages from the letters he could apparently quote from memory, I struggled against an inner shudder, a shiver somewhere between disgust and horror, against the reflex to stop my ears.
  • Nevertheless, when that outlandish bird, attacked by the cat, shrieked for help in human accents, she ran out into the yard stopping her ears, and did not prevent the crime.

stop someone's mouth

Induce someone to keep silent about something: even if the correspondent wanted to reveal the truth, patriotism as well as censorship would stop his mouth

stop payment

Pronunciation: /ˈstɒp ˌpeɪm(ə)nt/
Instruct a bank to withhold payment on a cheque: the cheque has been certified, so you can’t stop payment
More example sentences
  • Later the purchaser decided not to proceed with the transaction and told his bank to stop payment of the cheque.
  • It is said that the plaintiff company had stopped payment on those cheques and that the Bank failed to honour the order of the customer.
  • You can not stop payment on a cheque or otherwise withhold rent money from them.

stop the show

(Of a performer) provoke prolonged applause or laughter, causing an interruption: Diane stopped the show with her rendition of ‘You Made Me Love You’
More example sentences
  • The tiny songbird scooped up six Latin Music Awards and stopped the show with a sizzling performance.
  • Clark stops the show with a passionately funny monologue describing the bickering among the women in his life.
  • Anyway, the number was genius, totally stopping the show, and I was a little misty right through the end of the show.

Phrasal verbs


stop by (or in)

Call briefly and informally as a visitor: a nurse stopped by her room to see if she was asleep would you mind if I stopped by this morning? she stopped in for a cup of tea
More example sentences
  • I think there's a home health nurse who stops by to see him daily.
  • One can only wonder what conversation is like around the dinner table in their household when Mary stops by for a visit.
  • Our Beijing guide Max arranged for us to stop in and visit a hutong family and drink a cup of tea with them.

stop something down

Photography Reduce the aperture of a lens with a diaphragm.

stop off (or over)

Pay a short visit en route to one’s ultimate destination: I stopped off to visit him and his wife
More example sentences
  • You can stop off at several points en route for a longer visit with your animals of choice.
  • The restored 19th-century Irish emigrant sailing ship, a replica of one of the last of its kind before the steamship era, got a huge welcome when it visited Dingle and stopped over for three days.
  • I haven't seen them half as much as I would have liked but I hope to stop off for a quick visit when M and I go for our annual jaunt up to Scotland.
break one's journey, take a break, pause;
stay, remain, put up, lodge, rest
formal sojourn
archaic or literary tarry

stop out

1British informal Stay out, especially longer or later than might be expected: it was the only evening for weeks that we stopped out
More example sentences
  • She has also taken to stopping out at night with her boyfriend - a school non-attender.
  • I, for one, won't be stopping out after dark.
  • Now they are 'big boys' and can stop out late!
2North American Withdraw temporarily from higher education or employment in order to pursue another activity: community college students are more likely to stop out, or drop out entirely, when the cost of attending increases
More example sentences
  • About one in every six freshmen will stop out before finishing their program.
  • These students often "stop out" when they meet financial difficulties.
  • In addition to a large number of students who will become part-time students during their time in college, there are also large numbers of UIC students who will stop out for one or more terms during their career and who will change their majors.

stop something out

Cover an area that is not to be printed or etched when making a print or etching.

stop up

British informal Refrain from going to bed; stay up: you used to let us stop up to watch the programme
More example sentences
  • We stopped up playing board games, listening to music and generally chatting until about 3:30.
  • We stopped up until four or so, doing the tequila thing and having, like, deep and important conversations about life and love and that.
  • Many also have a junk-food diet which does their health no good, are allowed to stop up all hours and have totally inadequate parents.



Example sentences
  • Nuclear proliferation, when considered as the global emergency that it is, has never been, is not now and never will be stoppable by military force; on the contrary, force can only exacerbate the problem.
  • He sounds like he'll just be even more powerful and less stoppable now.
  • It is capable of launching attacks which will not always be stoppable whatever precautions are taken.




Old English (for)stoppian 'block up (an aperture)', of West Germanic origin; related to German stopfen, from late Latin stuppare 'to stuff'.

Words that rhyme with stop

atop, bop, chop, clop, cop, crop, dop, drop, Dunlop, estop, flop, fop, glop, hop, intercrop, knop, kop, lop, mop, op, plop, pop, prop, screw-top, shop, slop, sop, strop, swap, tiptop, top, underprop, whop

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: stop

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