You know that red octagonal traffic sign that says STOP? It's telling you to stop moving and to stay put.

You're familiar with stop as a word meaning "quit moving," but the word's original meaning is "to plug up a hole," like when you stop the hole in your bucket with oakum (or napkins). In English, stop came to mean "arrest" for any kind of movement. Stop crime! Stop that check! Stop that thief! Stop writing commands with stop! A stop can also be a place to rest, and the period at the end of this sentence is a "full stop."

Primary Meanings of stop

have an end, in a temporal, spatial, or quantitative sense; either spatial or metaphorical
the event of something ending
render unsuitable for passage
an obstruction in a pipe or tube
a mechanical device in a camera that controls size of aperture of the lens
a punctuation mark (.) placed at the end of a declarative sentence to indicate a full stop or after abbreviations
Full Definitions of stop

v have an end, in a temporal, spatial, or quantitative sense; either spatial or metaphorical

“Your rights stop where you infringe upon the rights of other”
cease, end, finish, terminate
begin, start
have a beginning, in a temporal, spatial, or evaluative sense
begin, start
have a beginning characterized in some specified way
have a beginning, of a temporal event
show more antonyms...
show 23 types...
hide 23 types...
pass away
go out of existence
end, at least for a long time
cut out
cease operating
go out
become extinguished
adjourn, break up, recess
close at the end of a session
disappear, vanish
cease to exist
climax, culminate
end, especially to reach a final or climactic stage
run out
become used up; be exhausted
go, run low, run short
to be spent or finished
disappear, go away, vanish
become invisible or unnoticeable
close, conclude
come to a close
come out, turn out
result or end
come to or be at an end
come to an end
dematerialise, dematerialize
become immaterial; disappear
crown, top
be the culminating event
go away or disappear
bob under
disappear suddenly, as if under the surface of a body of water
come out in the end
work out
happen in a certain way, leading to, producing, or resulting in a certain outcome, often well
fizzle, fizzle out, peter out, taper off
end weakly
leave off
come to an end, stop or cease
expire, run out
lose validity

v come to a halt, stop moving

“the car stopped
“She stopped in front of a store window”
get going, go, start
begin or set in motion
show 11 types...
hide 11 types...
go off
stop running, functioning, or operating
pull up short
stop abruptly
stop for a moment, as if out of uncertainty or caution
stop in a chase especially when scent is lost
abandon the intended prey, turn, and pursue an inferior prey
rein, rein in
stop or slow up one's horse or oneself by or as if by pulling the reins
conk, stall
come to a stop
experience a stall in flight, of airplanes
draw up, haul up, pull up
come to a halt after driving somewhere
stop travelling by applying a brake
come to rest

v cause to stop

stop a car”
stop the thief”
start, start up
get going or set in motion
show 13 types...
hide 13 types...
arrest the motion (of something) abruptly
rein, rein in
stop or check by or as if by a pull at the reins
arrest, halt, hold
cause to stop
bring up
cause to come to a sudden stop
stop filming
flag down
signal to stop
cause an engine to stop
cause an airplane to go into a stall
draw up, pull up
cause (a vehicle) to stop
cause to stop by applying the brakes
halt, stanch, staunch, stem
stop the flow of a liquid
rein in to keep from winning a race
apply a brake or skid to

v put an end to a state or an activity

cease, discontinue, give up, lay off, quit
bear on, carry on, continue, preserve, uphold
keep or maintain in unaltered condition; cause to remain or last
continue, go forward, proceed
move ahead; travel onward in time or space
continue, go along, go on, keep, proceed
continue a certain state, condition, or activity
show more antonyms...
show 11 types...
hide 11 types...
drop, knock off
stop pursuing or acting
leave off
stop using
sign off
cease broadcasting; get off the air; as of radio stations
retire, withdraw
withdraw from active participation
pull the plug
prevent from happening or continuing
close off, shut off
stem the flow of
used in the imperative (get away, or stop it)
call it a day, call it quits
stop doing what one is doing
give up
nol.pros., nolle pros, nolle prosequi
drop prosecution of by entering a nolle prosequi in the court records
drop out
withdraw from established society, especially because of disillusion with conventional values

v prevent completion

stop the project”
break, break off, discontinue
show 15 types...
hide 15 types...
become fractured
bog, bog down
get stuck while doing something
break up, cut off, disrupt, interrupt
make a break in
cut, cut off
cease, stop
interrupt periodically
interrupt the flow of current in
put aside, put away
turn away from and put aside, perhaps temporarily
break, intermit, pause
cease an action temporarily
barge in, break in, butt in, chime in, chisel in, cut in, put in
break into a conversation
burst in on, burst upon
spring suddenly
challenge aggressively
come in, inject, interject, interpose, put in, throw in
to insert between other elements
block, jam
interfere with or prevent the reception of signals
stop over
interrupt a trip
take off, take time off
take time off from work; stop working temporarily
Type of:
end, terminate
bring to an end or halt

v interrupt a trip

“we stopped at Aunt Mary's house”
“they stopped for three days in Florence”
stop over
make a stop in a harbour
lay over, stop over
interrupt a journey temporarily, e.g., overnight
Type of:
break up, cut off, disrupt, interrupt
make a break in

v stop from happening or developing

block, halt, kibosh
prevent commerce
stop a judicial process
Type of:
forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, prevent
keep from happening or arising; make impossible

v seize on its way

cut off, cut out
cut off and stop
Type of:
catch, grab, take hold of
take hold of so as to seize or restrain or stop the motion of

v stop and wait, as if awaiting further instructions or developments

hold on
Type of:
break, interrupt

v hold back, as of a danger or an enemy; check the expansion or influence of

arrest, check, contain, hold back, turn back
cut down, cut out
intercept (a player)
Type of:
be on the defensive; act against an attack

n the event of something ending

“it came to a stop at the bottom of the hill”
halt, kibosh
cessation, surcease
a stopping
stand, standstill, tie-up
an interruption of normal activity
legal separation, separation
(law) the cessation of cohabitation of man and wife (either by mutual agreement or under a court order)
Type of:
conclusion, ending, finish
event whose occurrence ends something

n the act of stopping something

“the third baseman made some remarkable stops
stand-down, standdown
(military) a temporary stop of offensive military action
haemostasia, haemostasis, hemostasia, hemostasis
surgical procedure of stopping the flow of blood (as with a hemostat)
Type of:
act, deed, human action, human activity
something that people do or cause to happen

n a spot where something halts or pauses

“his next stop is Atlanta”
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
bus stop
a place on a bus route where buses stop to discharge and take on passengers
a place (as at a frontier) where travellers are stopped for inspection and clearance
loading area, loading zone
a stop where carriers can be loaded and unloaded
stopover, way station
a stopping place on a journey
Type of:
place, spot, topographic point
a point located with respect to surface features of some region

n a brief stay in the course of a journey

layover, stopover
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
a break in a journey for the night
pit stop
a brief stop at a pit during an automobile race to take on fuel or service the car
pit stop
a stop during an automobile trip for rest and refreshment
a stop made by a touring musical or theatrical group to give a performance
Type of:
continuing or remaining in a place or state

n the state of inactivity following an interruption

“he spent the entire stop in his seat”
arrest, check, halt, hitch, stay, stoppage
a check that restrains another check
any stoppage attributable to unusual activity
Type of:
inaction, inactiveness, inactivity
the state of being inactive

v render unsuitable for passage

stop the busy road”
bar, barricade, block, block off, block up, blockade
block, obstruct
shut out from view or get in the way so as to hide from sight
block off, close off, shut off
block off the passage through
bar access to
Type of:
block, close up, impede, jam, obstruct, obturate, occlude
block passage through

n an obstruction in a pipe or tube

block, blockage, closure, occlusion, stoppage
show 11 types...
hide 11 types...
breech closer, breechblock
a metal block in breech-loading firearms that is withdrawn to insert a cartridge and replaced to close the breech before firing
plug, stopper, stopple
blockage consisting of an object designed to fill a hole tightly
vapor lock, vapour lock
a stoppage in a pipeline caused by gas bubbles (especially a stoppage that develops in hot weather in an internal-combustion engine when fuel in the gas line boils and forms bubbles that block the flow of gasoline to the carburetor)
bung, spile
a plug used to close a hole in a barrel or flask
bottle cork, cork
the plug in the mouth of a bottle (especially a wine bottle)
a removable plug for holding water in a tub or basin
a plug of cotton, wax, or rubber that is fitted into the ear canal for protection against the entry of water or loud noise
a wooden plug forming a flue pipe (as the mouthpiece of a recorder)
tampion, tompion
plug for the muzzle of a gun to keep out dust and moisture
plug of cotton or other absorbent material; inserted into wound or body cavity to absorb exuded fluids (especially blood)
spigot, tap
a plug for a bunghole in a cask
Type of:
impediment, impedimenta, obstructer, obstruction, obstructor
any structure that makes progress difficult

n a restraint that checks the motion of something

“he used a book as a stop to hold the door open”
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
bench hook
any of various stops on a workbench against which work can be pushed (as while chiseling or planing)
doorstop, doorstopper
a stop that keeps open doors from moving
click, detent, dog, pawl
a hinged catch that fits into a notch of a ratchet to move a wheel forward or prevent it from moving backward
trip, tripper
a catch mechanism that acts as a switch
Type of:
constraint, restraint
a device that retards something's motion

n a consonant produced by stopping the flow of air at some point and suddenly releasing it

“his stop consonants are too aspirated”
occlusive, plosive, plosive consonant, plosive speech sound, stop consonant
continuant, continuant consonant
consonant articulated by constricting (but not closing) the vocal tract
labial stop
a stop consonant that is produced with the lips
glottal catch, glottal plosive, glottal stop
a stop consonant articulated by releasing pressure at the glottis; as in the sudden onset of a vowel
click, suction stop
a stop consonant made by the suction of air into the mouth (as in Bantu)
Type of:
a consonant that is produced with a partial or complete blockage of the airflow from the lungs through the nose or mouth

n a mechanical device in a camera that controls size of aperture of the lens

iris, iris diaphragm
diaphragm consisting of thin overlapping plates that can be adjusted to change the diameter of a central opening
Type of:
mechanical device
mechanism consisting of a device that works on mechanical principles

n (music) a knob on an organ that is pulled to change the sound quality from the organ pipes

“the organist pulled out all the stops
Type of:
a round handle

n a punctuation mark (.) placed at the end of a declarative sentence to indicate a full stop or after abbreviations

full point, full stop, period, point
suspension point
(usually plural) one of a series of points indicating that something has been omitted or that the sentence is incomplete
Type of:
punctuation, punctuation mark
the marks used to clarify meaning by indicating separation of words into sentences and clauses and phrases

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.