stay 1 (stā)
v. stayed, stay·ing, stays
a. To continue to be in a place or condition: stay home; stay calm.
b. To remain or sojourn as a guest or lodger: stayed at a motel.
c. To linger or wait in order to do or experience something: We stayed to watch the final minutes of the game.
a. To continue or persist in an action or activity: stayed with the original plan; stayed in college.
b. To keep up in a race or contest: tried to stay with the lead runner.
3. Games To meet a bet in poker without raising it.
4. Archaic To stop moving or stop doing something.
1. To remain during: stayed the week with my parents; stayed the duration of the game.
a. To stop or restrain; check: Doubt stayed his hand.
b. To suspend by legal order the implementation of (a planned action), especially pending further proceedings: stay a prisoner's execution.
3. To satisfy or appease temporarily: stayed his anger.
4. Archaic To wait for; await: "I will not stay thy questions. Let me go; / Or if thou follow me, do not believe / But I shall do thee mischief in the wood" (Shakespeare).
1. A brief period of residence or visiting.
a. The order by which a planned action is stayed.
b. The consequence of such an order.
a. The act of halting; check.
b. The act of coming to a halt.
To remain awake past one's usual bedtime; not go to bed.
To remain in a fixed or established position.
stay the course
To hold out or persevere to the end of a race or challenge.
stay with (one)
To remain in one's memory; not be forgotten: That kind of compliment stays with you for years.
[Middle English steien, from Old French ester, esteir, from Latin stāre; see stā- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: stay1, linger, remain, tarry1, wait
These verbs mean to continue to be in a given place: stayed in bed until noon; lingered at the mall for an entire afternoon; remained on the subway until the very last stop; tarried in the hallway until he was late for class; waited for the movie credits to end before she left the theater.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.