standoff

[stand-awf, -of]
noun
1.
a standing off or apart; aloofness.
2.
a tie or draw, as in a game.
3.
something that counterbalances.
4.
a prop for holding the top of a ladder away from the vertical surface against which it is leaning.
5.
Electricity. an insulator that supports a conductor above a surface.
adjective
6.
standing off or apart; aloof; reserved: an uncordial and standoff manner.
Also, stand-off.


Origin:
1830–40; noun, adj. use of verb phrase stand off

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
standoff (ˈstændˌɒf)
 
n
1.  (US), (Canadian) the act or an instance of standing off or apart
2.  a deadlock or stalemate
3.  any situation or disposition of forces that counterbalances or neutralizes
4.  rugby short for stand-off half
 
vb
5.  (intr) to navigate a vessel so as to avoid the shore, an obstruction, etc
6.  (tr) to keep or cause to keep at a distance
7.  (intr) to reach a deadlock or stalemate
8.  (tr) to dismiss (workers), esp temporarily

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

standoff
1843, "draw, tie," from stand (v.) + off. Mexican stand-off "stalemate" is recorded from 1891. Adj. standoffish is first attested 1860, from verbal phrase stand off "hold aloof" (c.1600).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Across town, a known felon barricades himself inside his house, resulting in a
  tense standoff for hours.
After a tense standoff, all ten pirates surrendered.
Residents surrounded the dozens of police in a polite standoff, offering tea
  and water but keeping them away from the work site.
We are left with a standoff, with no neat resolution in sight.
Synonyms
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