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poised

[poizd] /pɔɪzd/
adjective
1.
(of a person) composed, dignified, and self-assured.
2.
being in balance or equilibrium:
a balloon poised on the nose of a seal.
3.
teetering or wavering:
to be poised on the brink of disaster.
4.
hovering or suspended in or as in midair:
a bird poised in flight; a helicopter poised overhead.
Origin
1635-1645
1635-45; poise1 + -ed2, -ed3
Related forms
unpoised, adjective

poise1

[poiz] /pɔɪz/
noun
1.
a state of balance or equilibrium, as from equality or equal distribution of weight; equipoise.
2.
a dignified, self-confident manner or bearing; composure; self-possession:
to show poise in company.
3.
steadiness; stability:
intellectual poise.
4.
suspense or wavering, as between rest and motion or two phases of motion:
the poise of the tides.
5.
the way of being poised, held, or carried.
6.
the state or position of hovering:
the poise of a bird in the air.
verb (used with object), poised, poising.
7.
to adjust, hold, or carry in equilibrium; balance evenly.
8.
to hold supported or raised, as in position for casting, using, etc.:
to poise a spear.
9.
to hold or carry in a particular manner:
She walked, carefully poising a water jug on her head.
10.
Obsolete. to weigh.
verb (used without object), poised, poising.
11.
to rest in equilibrium; be balanced.
12.
to hover, as a bird in the air.
Origin
1350-1400; (noun) Middle English pois(e) weight < Old French (French poids) < Late Latin pēnsum, noun use of neuter past participle of Latin pendere to weigh; (v.) Middle English poisen to weigh < Old French poiser, variant, based on tonic stem, of peser < Latin pēnsāre, frequentative of pendere
Synonyms
2. self-assurance; polish, grace, refinement.
Antonyms
1, 3. instability.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for poised
  • Now a new technique is poised to greatly speed diagnosis.
  • The recent publication of the photographs of naked Indians poised to fire arrows at a low-flying aircraft electrified the world.
  • But keeping poised on problem days depends so much on comfort.
  • We had a fast car ready, a relay to a man first in line at the cable office and stenographers with pencils poised at the bureau.
  • One at a time, they stand poised 15 feet above the river.
  • For 18 months, the two nuclear powers stood poised for war.
  • They are thoughtful treatments of the familiar and, in that way, poised to last.
  • Maybe they are poised to become the best in the universe.
  • My fellow citizens, our Nation is poised for greatness.
  • The ice, poised between freezing and melting, is an especially sensitive indicator of the planet's temperature.
British Dictionary definitions for poised

poised

/pɔɪzd/
adjective
1.
self-possessed; dignified; exhibiting composure
2.
balanced and prepared for action: a skier poised at the top of the slope

poise1

/pɔɪz/
noun
1.
composure or dignity of manner
2.
physical balance or assurance in movement or bearing
3.
the state of being balanced or stable; equilibrium; stability
4.
the position of hovering
5.
suspense or indecision
verb
6.
to be or cause to be balanced or suspended
7.
(transitive) to hold, as in readiness: to poise a lance
8.
(transitive) a rare word for weigh1
Word Origin
C16: from Old French pois weight, from Latin pēnsum, from pendere to weigh

poise2

/pwɑːz; pɔɪz/
noun
1.
the cgs unit of viscosity; the viscosity of a fluid in which a tangential force of 1 dyne per square centimetre maintains a difference in velocity of 1 centimetre per second between two parallel planes 1 centimetre apart. It is equivalent to 0.1 newton second per square metre P
Word Origin
C20: named after Jean Louis Marie Poiseuille (1799–1869), French physician
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 poised

poise

n.

early 15c., "weight, quality of being heavy," later "significance, importance" (mid-15c.), from Old French pois "weight, balance, consideration" (12c., Modern French poids), from Medieval Latin pesum "weight," from Latin pensum "something weighted or weighed," (source of Provençal and Catalan pes, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian peso), noun use of neuter past participle of pendere "to weigh" (see pendant).

The sense of "steadiness, composure" first recorded 1640s, from notion of being equally weighted on either side (1550s). Meaning "balance" is from 1711; meaning "way in which the body is carried" is from 1770.

v.

late 14c., "to have a certain weight," from stressed form of Old French peser "to weigh, be heavy; weigh down, be a burden; worry, be a concern," from Vulgar Latin *pesare, from Latin pensare "to weigh carefully, weigh out, counter-balance," frequentative of pendere (past participle pensus) "to weigh" (see pendant). For form evolution from Latin to French, see OED. Meaning "to place in equilibrium" is from 1630s (cf. equipoise). Passive sense of "to be ready" (to do something) is from 1932. Related: Poised; poising. In 15c. a poiser was an official who weighed goods.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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poised in Medicine

poise (poiz, pwäz)
n.
A centimeter-gram-second unit of dynamic viscosity equal to one dyne-second per square centimeter.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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poised in Science
poise
  (poiz, pwäz)   
The unit of dynamic viscosity in the centimeter-gram-second system, equal to one dyne-second per square centimeter, or 0.1 pascal-seconds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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