v. stopped, stop·ping, stops
1. To close (an opening or hole) by covering, filling in, or plugging up: The tea leaves stopped the drain.
2. To constrict (an opening or orifice): My nose is stopped up.
3. To obstruct or block passage on (a road, for example).
4. To prevent the flow or passage of: stop supplies from getting through.
a. To halt the motion or progress of: stopped me and asked directions.
b. To block or deflect (a blow, for example); parry or ward off.
c. To be or get in the way of (a bullet or other missile); be killed or wounded by.
a. To cause to desist or to change a course of action: The rain stopped us from continuing the argument.
b. To prevent or restrain: An invitation to dinner stopped him from going to the movies.
7. To discontinue or cease: He stopped his complaining.
a. To defeat (an opponent or opposing team).
b. To defeat in boxing by a knockout or technical knockout.
9. To order a bank to withhold payment of: stopped the check.
a. To press down (a string on a stringed instrument) on the fingerboard to produce a desired pitch.
b. To close (a hole on a wind instrument) with the finger in sounding a desired pitch.
1. To cease moving, progressing, acting, or operating; come to a halt: The clock stopped in the night.
2. To put an end to what one is doing; cease: had to stop at an exciting place in the book.
3. To interrupt one's course or journey for a brief visit or stay. Often used with by, in, or off: stop by at a friend's house; stop in at the office; stop off at the gas station.
1. The act of stopping or the condition of being stopped: Can't you put a stop to all this ruckus? Production is at a stop.
2. A halt or stay, as on a trip: We made a stop in Austin.
3. A place at which someone or something stops: a regular stop on my delivery route; a bus stop.
4. A device or means that obstructs, blocks, or plugs up.
5. An order given to a bank to withhold payment on a check.
6. A stop order.
7. A part in a mechanism that stops or regulates movement.
8. The effective aperture of a lens, controlled by a diaphragm.
9. A mark of punctuation, especially a period.
a. The act of stopping a string or hole on an instrument.
b. A fret on a stringed instrument.
c. A hole on a wind instrument.
d. A device such as a key for closing the hole on a wind instrument.
e. A tuned set of pipes, as in an organ.
f. A knob, key, or pull that regulates such a set of pipes.
11. Nautical A line used for securing something temporarily: a sail stop.
a. Linguistics One of a set of speech sounds that is a plosive or a nasal.
b. A plosive.
13. The depression between the muzzle and top of the skull of an animal, especially a dog.
14. Sports A save made by a goalie.
15. Games A stopper.
16. Architecture A projecting stone, often carved, at the end of a molding.
17. A control mechanism on an audio or video player that causes a recording to stop playing.
Of, relating to, or being of use at the end of an operation or activity: a stop code.
To reduce (the aperture) of a lens.
To withdraw temporarily from college.
[Middle English stoppen, from Old English -stoppian, probably from Vulgar Latin *stuppāre, to caulk, from Latin stuppa, tow, broken flax, from Greek stuppē.]
Synonyms: stop, cease, desist, discontinue, halt1, quit
These verbs mean to bring or come to an end: stop arguing; ceased crying; desist from complaining; discontinued the treatment; halting the convoy; quit laughing.
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.