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[pawz] /pɔz/
a temporary stop or rest, especially in speech or action:
a short pause after each stroke of the oar.
a cessation of activity because of doubt or uncertainty; a momentary hesitation.
any comparatively brief stop, delay, wait, etc.:
I would like to make a pause in my talk and continue after lunch.
a break or rest in speaking or reading to emphasize meaning, grammatical relation, metrical division, etc., or in writing or printing by the use of punctuation.
Prosody. a break or suspension, as a caesura, in a line of verse.
Music. a fermata.
verb (used without object), paused, pausing.
to make a brief stop or delay; wait; hesitate:
He paused at the edge of the pool for a moment. I'll pause in my lecture so we can all get some coffee.
to dwell or linger (usually followed by on or upon):
to pause upon a particular point.
give pause, to cause to hesitate or be unsure, as from surprise or doubt:
These frightening statistics give us pause.
Origin of pause
1400-50; (noun) Middle English < Latin pausa < Greek paûsis a halt, equivalent to paú(ein) to stop + -sis -sis; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related forms
pausal, adjective
pauseful, adjective
pausefully, adverb
pauseless, adjective
pauselessly, adverb
pauser, noun
pausingly, adverb
nonpause, noun
unpausing, adjective
Can be confused
pause, paws, pores, pours.
1–3. suspension, interruption, break, halt; hiatus, lacuna. 7. rest. 8. tarry, delay. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for paused
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the doorway of the dining room she paused to look back at the veranda.

    Sacrifice Stephen French Whitman
  • Pen paused, breathless, her cheeks scarlet, her eyes glowing.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • They paused only long enough for Benton to snap another flashlight.

    Spring Street James H. Richardson
  • She paused, and Tom nodded encouragement from the other room.

    Tutors' Lane Wilmarth Lewis
  • Then he, too, paused abruptly, because he felt as if he had betrayed himself.

British Dictionary definitions for paused


verb (intransitive)
to cease an action temporarily; stop
to hesitate; delay: she replied without pausing
a temporary stop or rest, esp in speech or action; short break
(prosody) another word for caesura
(music) Also called fermata. a continuation of a note or rest beyond its normal length Usual symbol fermata
give pause to, to cause to hesitate
Derived Forms
pausal, adjective
pauser, noun
pausing, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin pausa pause, from Greek pausis, from pauein to halt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for paused



early 15c., from Old French pausee "a pause, interruption" (14c.) and directly from Latin pausa "a halt, stop, cessation," from Greek pausis "stopping, ceasing," from pauein "to stop, to cause to cease," from PIE root *paus- "to leave, desert, cease, stop."


mid-15c., from pause (n.) and from Middle French pauser, from Late Latin pausare "to halt, cease, pause." Related: Paused; pausing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paused in Medicine

pause (pôz)
A temporary stop or cessation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with paused


see: give pause
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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