Main definitions of stay in English

: stay1stay2



  • 1[no object, usually with adverbial] Remain in the same place.

    ‘you stay here and I'll be back soon’
    ‘Jenny decided to stay at home with their young child’
    ‘he stayed with the firm as a consultant’
    • ‘Alex's mother went to Greece for a holiday, met his father, fell in love, and decided to stay there.’
    • ‘I could have stayed, but I decided that I wouldn't have been playing often enough.’
    • ‘He almost came here, as a lot of us did, and then he decided to stay in Canada.’
    • ‘Edward was scheduled to sit another of his exams on Monday and had decided to stay at home on Sunday to study.’
    • ‘The gig was so successful the band decided to stay together, and since then Wards Xpress has released three albums.’
    • ‘Lee decided to stay in New Zealand and her attention was drawn back into the arts.’
    • ‘Anni was supposed to have been with him in the car that day but she decided to stay home with their two young children.’
    • ‘He has decided to stay in Erinsborough, and he will be moving in with Lou.’
    • ‘We decided not to stay here, as there were better beaches to be found.’
    • ‘This year they've decided to stay in their village because it just isn't safe to leave their home and head for Baghdad.’
    • ‘She decided not to stay at her home that night and later found it had been entered during the night and some pictures had been broken.’
    • ‘It was so hot we decided to stay outside at half time for our team talk.’
    • ‘As our building was hurricane safe and off the ocean, my husband and I decided to stay in our condo.’
    • ‘Irene decided to stay in Ireland for the time being and has starred in several of Bryan's shows since.’
    • ‘It was up to the employee to decide whether to stay in a stressful job.’
    • ‘Several of the passengers decided to stay in that city and refused to go on to Little Rock.’
    • ‘After a nap, we realise the march has begun without us and decide to stay in bed.’
    • ‘She later called to explain she had decided to stay at the Lancashire resort for longer.’
    • ‘If Hernan decides to stay, I don't want him coming to me later and saying he wants to go.’
    • ‘Maddie, at the last minute, decided to stay behind and finish some work on deadline.’
    1. 1.1Delay leaving so as to join in (an activity)
      ‘why not stay to lunch?’
      • ‘He joined them for the party and thanked everyone for staying to take part, in spite of the heavy snow.’
      • ‘They appreciate the fact that people stayed to donate blood despite the long delay.’
      • ‘I stayed for lunch and then another mug of tea in the sun.’
      • ‘It is expected she will stay to join members for lunch.’
      • ‘What often occurs is that a fan base shows up midway through the second half of the women's game and then stays for the entire men's game.’
      • ‘I was surprised because nobody stays to hear the song in the closing credits.’
      • ‘Of course he refuses to leave, and stays to fight alongside a new set of unfamiliar comrades.’
      • ‘Are you sure it's all right for me to stay for dinner though?’
      • ‘He is even polite enough to invite me to stay for lunch, whereas five years ago he used to say no way was he feeding journalists.’
      • ‘We stayed for a few drinks and then joined the trail of people shuffling down the road.’
      • ‘He seems to be enjoying Brightman's performance, and stays for all three encores.’
      • ‘Hart smiles broadly and stays to sign his latest book.’
      • ‘My father had invited the entourage to stay to lunch, but they refused politely.’
      • ‘He would play with his son on the lawn, stay for lunch and dinner, and drink a chilled martini or two.’
      • ‘Listen, I'm going to stay for dinner, and maybe longer.’
      • ‘One remaining barfly stays to play video poker.’
      • ‘It comes for lunch, stays for dinner, and sleeps on your couch overnight.’
      • ‘One has tea and Easter eggs and chats and stays to watch the news, slowly abandoning all thought of exercise.’
      • ‘He speaks of an 84-year-old gentleman who comes into his post office once a week and stays to chat for an hour.’
      • ‘Sam has done a fantastic job and we hope he stays to see his contract out at Bolton.’
    2. 1.2(of food) remain in the stomach, rather than be thrown up as vomit.
      ‘he gagged but the sandwich stayed down’
      • ‘The first priority is finding food which will stay down.’
      • ‘I didn't have breakfast, but my lunch and dinner stayed down, so I think I'm well on the road to recovery.’
      • ‘His body wouldn't obey him, and any food he ate never stayed down for very long.’
      • ‘Some cheese on toast stayed down, and come morning, I was starting to feel human again.’
      • ‘On the third day, some of the stuff stayed down as I sat in an easy chair, still hooked up to my IV-apparatus.’
  • 2[no object, with complement or adverbial] Remain in a specified state or position.

    ‘her ability to stay calm’
    ‘tactics used to stay in power’
    ‘I managed to stay out of trouble’
    • ‘How many guys stay healthy for a full season?’
    • ‘What can any of us do to help our kids stay healthy?’
    • ‘An independent adjudicator will now decide whether the school stays open or closes.’
    • ‘But he has trouble staying calm under pressure.’
    • ‘How he manages to stay so calm and hold off his anger for so long is beyond me.’
    • ‘How do people stay awake during the day?’
    • ‘Hanging with older friends can work if you stay true to who you are.’
    • ‘No one wanted to see him stay in power and gradually rebuild his military capability, yet there he is.’
    • ‘According to Edward's family, he had long reformed and had managed to stay out of trouble.’
    • ‘Even though he finally understood that he would never see his mom again, he still stayed silent.’
    • ‘She was having some trouble staying alive.’
    • ‘Good players manage to stay in a positive energy sector, no matter how the game's standing is.’
    • ‘Well, of course the costs have continued to go up while the prices have stayed down.’
    • ‘She and her mother stayed up until midnight playing board games and drinking their tea.’
    • ‘I can only hope that those who believe in freedom can stay strong and maintain the edge we need to persevere.’
    • ‘We just stayed up to watch the Oscars!’
    • ‘You just stay in school, do the right thing and work hard and compete and you'll win, all right?’
    • ‘At least he has managed to stay positive about things, and he has told us he will aim for the next World Cup.’
    • ‘There's always been rumors that casinos pump oxygen into their casinos, so people stay awake more.’
    • ‘All the big powers have managed to stay at peace so I suppose it achieved something.’
    continue to be, remain, keep, continue, persist in being, carry on being, go on being, rest
    stay behind, stay put
    View synonyms
  • 3[no object] (of a person) live somewhere temporarily as a visitor or guest.

    ‘the girls had gone to stay with friends’
    ‘Minton invited him to stay the night’
    • ‘At Mandarin Oriental hotels, people don't just stay the night, they feel part of a club.’
    • ‘I've been staying down South, but I have to head off again straight away and I don't want to be lugging this thing round.’
    • ‘Do you mind if he stays with you while we go see your mother?’
    • ‘The young people would stay there temporarily until a site was found to construct a purpose-built hostel for the scheme.’
    • ‘We really are pleased with Rosaleen and hope she will continue to stay with us in Pound Street.’
    • ‘We stayed overnight at a hotel, and in the morning we went to a train station.’
    • ‘They're staying in a friend's vacant apartment to save on costs.’
    • ‘They all stayed with local families and a busy schedule of activities was organised.’
    • ‘We're going to stay overnight at a hotel here.’
    • ‘The villas we stayed in were positioned half way up a hill.’
    • ‘We stayed down there and our friends put us up in a hotel overnight, he added.’
    • ‘That night the four brothers stayed in the guest chambers of the castle.’
    • ‘The 30 people staying at the guest house had been woken up by the noise and he had told them it was not a normal occurrence here.’
    • ‘Her parents are unable to care for her and the hospital she is temporarily staying in is poorly equipped.’
    • ‘She is a special guest who stays at the hotel on her regular bi-annual visits to Pattaya.’
    • ‘I'll pay for your round-trip ticket and you can stay in the guest room at my house.’
    • ‘The rest of the crowd consists of family friends whom Tristan doesn't know, as well as a couple of guests staying at the Inn through the holidays.’
    • ‘Call your house and tell them you're staying at a friend's house because you don't want to drive home and stay the night with me.’
    • ‘‘Imagine that you have guests staying with you,’ he continued.’
    • ‘I usually stayed in the guest room with Terry during those days.’
    1. 3.1Scottish, South African Live permanently.
      ‘where do you stay?’
      • ‘Although most of the inhabitants stay in shacks, they clearly take pride in their environment.’
  • 4[with object] Stop, delay, or prevent (something), in particular suspend or postpone (judicial proceedings) or refrain from pressing (charges)

    ‘there are some cases the Crown feels so serious they don't want to stay the charges’
    • ‘If the claim is a provable one, then, as soon as the bankruptcy proceeding is set in motion all proceedings to collect on a debt are stayed.’
    • ‘The trial judge refused to stay the proceedings or to exclude evidence pursuant to section 78.’
    • ‘The first respondent applied for orders that the proceedings be stayed unless the applicant provides security for costs.’
    • ‘A higher court stayed his acquittal and ordered him detained while the finding at trial was reconsidered.’
    • ‘Accordingly the Divisional Court allowed the appeal, remitted the matter to the arbitrator and stayed the oppression remedy proceeding.’
    • ‘Well, I will make an order that those two matters be permanently stayed and that the plaintiffs pay the defendant's costs.’
    • ‘The Rhode Island court will have to consider whether in the exercise of its own jurisdiction it should stay the proceedings before it.’
    • ‘I would not be minded to stay the execution of the District Court judgment in any circumstances.’
    • ‘The justice stayed the execution of a warrant pending this application.’
    • ‘The plaintiffs sought an order staying the Mayor's directive.’
    • ‘He subsequently applied to a judge of the Federal Court for an order staying the immigration inquiry pending the hearing of the judicial review.’
    • ‘The relief may consist of staying the foreclosure proceedings or providing for a decrease in the payments during the period of service.’
    • ‘We are simply seeking to stay the proceedings on jurisdictional grounds.’
    • ‘This is too narrow an approach to adopt when considering whether an application for judicial review should be stayed.’
    • ‘For the following reasons, the Application to stay the Plaintiff's action is granted.’
    • ‘The respondent moves now to stay these proceedings including the pending trial.’
    • ‘We come next to the abuse of process argument, and whether the judge should have stayed the indictment on the basis that the defendant could not have a fair trial.’
    • ‘Does the English Court have Jurisdiction to stay the Part 20 Proceedings?’
    • ‘Last, and in the alternative, the defendant seeks an order staying the enforcement of the summary judgment if granted.’
    • ‘After the high court order was stayed, the Supreme Court directed that all commercial and hired vehicles should turn gas vehicles, he added.’
    postpone, put off, delay, defer, put back, hold off, hold over, carry over, reschedule, do later, shelve, stand over, pigeonhole, hold in abeyance, put in abeyance, mothball
    delay, slow down, slow up, hold back, set back, keep back, hold up, postpone, put back, detain, decelerate, put a brake on, retard
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1Assuage (hunger) for a short time.
      ‘I grabbed something to stay the pangs of hunger’
    2. 4.2literary Curb; check.
      ‘he tries to stay the destructive course of barbarism’
    3. 4.3archaic [no object, in imperative]Wait a moment in order to allow someone time to think or speak.
      ‘stay, stand apart, I know not which is which’
  • 5literary [with object] Support or prop up.

    ‘it did not matter to you whether the building was stayed up or not?’


  • 1A period of staying somewhere, in particular of living somewhere temporarily as a visitor or guest.

    ‘an overnight stay at a luxury hotel’
    • ‘This trip is over a weekend and will include an overnight stay in a five-star hotel.’
    • ‘Shocked by the state of the borough during his 10 month stay he decided to use the streets as a canvas for highlighting problems he saw.’
    • ‘He says it appears the resort is recruiting mainly from Brisbane and Sydney, with an average stay of six months.’
    • ‘During their stays abroad many American visitors to Europe also traveled together in small groups to share in the joys of discovery.’
    • ‘It would involve at most an overnight stay in hospital, he explained.’
    • ‘When she returned for a brief stay, she ran into an old acquaintance.’
    • ‘Sligo also has one of the lowest average lengths of stay in hospital in the country at five days.’
    • ‘Visitors are able to rent the houses for the weekend or short midweek stays.’
    • ‘The combination of comfortable accommodation, stunning scenery and fantastic hosts adds up to a more than memorable stay.’
    • ‘In the mid 1980s she came home early from the annual royal stay in Scotland.’
    • ‘He lost the gamble, however, as 55 per cent voted against his stay in power.’
    • ‘The length of her stay in hospital will depend on the doctors' assessment of her condition, said a royal aide.’
    • ‘Instead of leaving when their initial terms are over, many of the temporary visitors are extending their stays and even making Skipton their permanent home.’
    • ‘What are your recipes for being a good guest, for weekend or overnight stays?’
    • ‘Chinese nationals were eligible to apply for residence or temporary stays in Taiwan if they met certain conditions, Chen said.’
    • ‘It's not the first time the whale has checked out the gates during his stay.’
    • ‘All the money raised by the walk will help fund Jack and his parents' three-week stay at the John Tracy Clinic, in Los Angeles.’
    • ‘Comprehensive geriatric assessments can delay the onset of disability and decrease permanent nursing home stays.’
    • ‘He also says he has been four years in a job for which the average stay has been two years.’
    • ‘Her relatives and friends want to wish her a good journey home to England and hope she had a pleasant and fun stay.’
    visit, stop, stop-off, stopover, break, holiday, rest
    View synonyms
  • 2literary A curb or check.

    ‘there is likely to be a good public library as a stay against boredom’
    1. 2.1Law A suspension or postponement of judicial proceedings.
      ‘a stay of prosecution’
      • ‘The defence cited several cases involving extremely serious charges in which the appellate courts have ordered stays of proceedings because of delay.’
      • ‘In my opinion, the application for a stay of proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria should be dismissed.’
      • ‘I conclude that the trial judge erred in granting a stay of proceedings to each of the defendants.’
      • ‘He will be given the chance to say his final words and a special telephone will be used to check for any last-minute stays of execution.’
      • ‘If the court is prepared to grant a stay then what the Claimants are effectively seeking is some kind of preliminary disclosure order.’
      postponement, putting off, delay, deferment, deferral, putting back, carrying over, rescheduling, shelving, pigeonholing, mothballing
      View synonyms
  • 3A device used as a brace or support.

    1. 3.1historical A corset made of two pieces laced together and stiffened by strips of whalebone.
      • ‘Thankfully the fashion gurus have stopped short of the tightly laced stays that warped the ribs of our great grand mothers.’
      • ‘The favourite shaping material of stays was whalebone, cut into thin strips and sewn in a fan pattern to make the torso appear rounder.’
      • ‘Products made from the animal were oil for lamps and candles whereas the bones were used for stays, corsets and collars.’
      • ‘She ran as fast as her stays and petticoat would allow to that pond she could see so clearly in her mind.’
      • ‘To borrow the corset metaphor, it's clear that we need to loosen our stays rather than stiffen them further, if we are to achieve optimum comfort and good function.’
  • 4archaic [mass noun] Power of endurance.

    ‘some men are always great at beginnings; but they have no stay in them’


  • be here (or have come) to stay

    • informal Be permanent or widely accepted.

      ‘the private sector is here to stay and likely to expand’
      • ‘It has been accepted and has come to stay as a necessary facility of life.’
      • ‘So let us be mature, and accept that globalisation is here to stay.’
      • ‘Pay parking is a reality and like all the other charges which we have had to accept it is here to stay.’
      • ‘But coal is here to stay, because it is abundant and the alternatives are generally more expensive.’
      • ‘It also reflects their failure to accept that devolved and decentralised government is here to stay.’
      • ‘The organisation yesterday warned high oil prices were here to stay.’
      • ‘In previous years the right wing of the union accepted that a divided civil and public service was here to stay.’
      • ‘Texting is not a passing phase in the technological age; it is here to stay.’
      • ‘The private sector is here to stay, but can it be altered sufficiently to become of net positive value to society?’
      • ‘We certainly wouldn't be investing so heavily in the future of our pubs if we didn't think they were here to stay.’
  • stay the course (or distance)

    • 1Keep going strongly to the end of a race or contest.

      ‘critics predicted the car could not stay the distance’
      • ‘It is endearing and more powerful that Rocky doesn't have the goal of winning against the champ, but merely to stay the distance and be standing at the end.’
      • ‘It is a long haul for some of them but if they are willing to stay the course, it's there for them.’
      • ‘Despite their age and torrential weather conditions, all but one of the cars have stayed the course.’
      • ‘Despite the loss, coach Terzis remains upbeat and knows he has the players to stay the course.’
      • ‘For us, it's not about what we did early, but about staying the course.’
      • ‘This is a big step up in distance but the trainer believes he will stay the course.’
      • ‘Clearly, some big-name department stores will be unable to stay the course as the department store sector continues to distance itself from the shopping needs of consumers.’
      • ‘The advantage in the World Cup is with the team that stays the course to the grim end.’
      • ‘Khao Kheow played from the yellow tees is always a good test of golf but when the wind blows, only the extra strong contenders manage to stay the course.’
      1. 1.1Pursue a difficult task to the end.
        ‘success in small businesses requires determination to stay the course’
        • ‘I said then, that the market was going to work meaningfully higher and that the best course of action was to stay the course.’
        • ‘His plan here is to stay the course and hope for the best.’
        • ‘It means that leaders do not allow difficulties to weaken their resolve to stay the course.’
        • ‘And I'm more determined than ever that Australia should stay the distance and finish the tasks for which we have taken responsibility.’
        • ‘‘Many concepts will fail, and staying the course will require leadership,’ they wrote.’
        • ‘If we do not stay the course through to a rebuilt nation - a task that may take the better part of a decade - early successes may later unravel.’
        • ‘And as the time goes on, I think it's going to become more difficult for her to sort of stay the course.’
        • ‘‘Failure is not an option,’ is a favorite slogan of those who believe in staying the course in the post-maneuver phase of the campaign.’
        • ‘I envy her the clarity of vision and the determination to stay the course, as far as her garden is concerned.’
        • ‘This will allow you to stay the course as we go through one of the most difficult investment periods in years.’
  • stay of execution

    • A delay in carrying out a court order.

      ‘the prisoner was granted a stay of execution by the Supreme Court’
      • ‘The death row inmate has been granted a stay of execution.’
      • ‘The airline has been granted a stay of execution until May 15 to refinance itself after recording a £530m loss.’
      • ‘Four justices of the Supreme Court were prepared to grant a stay of execution at the last moment, but five were required for a majority.’
      • ‘A stay of execution may be granted but even then the defendant will have to persuade the court that there is a good reason why the claimant should not be paid.’
      • ‘He was granted a stay of execution earlier this month when his lawyers filed a motion, claiming he had not exhausted all his appeals.’
      • ‘On 3 May 2002 the applicant sought a stay of execution of the Master's judgment for possession in favour of the respondent.’
      • ‘On 12 th July, 2004, the appellant was granted permission to appeal and a stay of execution.’
      • ‘The governor can grant a stay of execution when a condemned murderer's life is on the line.’
      • ‘According to the law, a request for a presidential pardon forces a stay of execution of a sentence until a decision is issued.’
      • ‘In April 2002, the Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution 36 hours before he was due to be killed.’
  • stay put

    • Remain somewhere without moving or being moved.

      ‘she told Clarissa to stay put’
      • ‘As she walked away, she could feel his eyes following her every move, but he was staying put, standing behind her, watching her walk away.’
      • ‘Because of these costs, most homeowners would choose to stay put rather than move.’
      • ‘Be aware that sometimes the safest thing you can do in a tall building fire is stay put and wait for the firefighters.’
      • ‘He thinks about pushing off from the door, but he's still unsure of what to do with himself once he moves, so he stays put.’
      • ‘Another car gets through the lights behind them, but the remaining traffic stays put, having moved all of 5 metres forward.’
      • ‘Not wanting to cause a scene, I stayed put and waited for the couple to continue on.’
      • ‘I was planning on staying put and waiting for the kids until Shawn's hand clasped around mine and pulled me along.’
      • ‘It looks at me when I turn towards it, but stays put.’
      • ‘Her job situation in Toronto changed, as did her plans to move, and she's stayed put.’
      • ‘He stays put in Philadelphia, refusing to move to L.A. and play ball.’
  • stay well

    • Said as an expression of good wishes by a person leaving.

      • ‘Its use was intended to wish the Paramount Chief to stay well.’
      • ‘May you go in peace and happiness, and stay well.’
      • ‘We'll be back, and we'll be checking on him; in the meantime, stay well.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • stay behind

    • Remain in a classroom or school at the end of teaching, especially to receive punishment.

      ‘please stay behind after class – I would like to talk to you regarding your lateness’
      • ‘He had to stay behind because he hadn't completed his homework.’
      • ‘Danz cried because her new teacher said if they were naughty they'd have to stay behind for up to an hour.’
  • stay on

    • Continue to study, work, or be somewhere after others have left.

      ‘75 per cent of sixteen-year-olds stay on in full-time education’
      • ‘Ruth now has to decide whether she wants to stay on with the police or continue her studies to become a lawyer.’
      • ‘If he defies the board and stays on until the end of his contract, there is only one outside candidate who could possibly wait until then.’
      • ‘The decision is particularly difficult because if she stays on in Bulgaria she could forfeit her job in Cardiff.’
      • ‘If he stays on as leader even after a defeat, it will be in the same spirit.’
      • ‘What do you think is going to happen to Education for the next two years if Michel stays on as Minister?’
      • ‘If Luke Demspey stays on, we will have a proven manager at a time when the game is changing.’
      • ‘Talks to be held during the next seven days could decide whether he stays on at Kendal Town.’
      • ‘She stayed on to do a course in performance studies that changed her life.’
      • ‘She stays on as an MP to get re-elected, despite her disillusionment.’
      • ‘If she stays on she has a better chance of going into further or higher education.’
      • ‘The new deputy leader and former DL TD Liz McManus stays on as health spokeswoman.’
      • ‘He came to Umist to study business and stayed on for a masters degree at Manchester Business School.’
      • ‘Anyway, A-levels had to change because we have more people staying on to study them than ever before.’
      • ‘When the doorman fails to return, the man stays on and moves seamlessly into the job.’
      • ‘The government says it wants people to stay on at school and study for A-levels.’
      • ‘Mr Latham said graduates were often put off staying on for further study for fear of incurring greater student debts.’
      • ‘So, he does a series or two and if he's a success, he stays on for a popular run.’
  • stay over

    • (of a guest or visitor) sleep somewhere, especially at someone's home, for the night.

      ‘children stay over at each other's houses more often than they did’
      • ‘It was also mentioned that some supporters are taking in the Mayo Dance in Galway on the Friday night and staying over for the game on Sunday.’
      • ‘This would be very regrettable as I'm sure the local shops and restaurants, particularly in the evening, benefit from some visitors staying over.’
      • ‘If you want to fly out on a weekday and fly back before the weekend, it costs a lot more then if you are prepared to stay over for the Saturday night.’
      • ‘The majority of occupiers stay over for one night and therefore the unit is occupied by an ever-changing group of up to five unrelated individuals.’
      • ‘In an attempt to keep things ordinary, we asked some of his friends to stay over on Friday night.’
      • ‘I stayed over on Saturday night, and we slept in the same bed.’
      • ‘I'm going out tomorrow night and probably staying over at somebody's house, so it's likely to be a late night/early morning.’
      • ‘I stayed over with Mia at her sister's flat which was just a very short walk from the theatre.’
      • ‘And they wanted plenty of bedrooms so guests could stay over easily.’
      • ‘The hotel was nice, and I stayed over on Saturday night, but my upgraded ‘deluxe’ room turned out to be next to the elevator shafts.’
      • ‘Why was Henry even staying over for two nights when he had a house across town?’
      • ‘One Friday night, the girls stayed over at Jamie's house.’
      • ‘Whilst staying over for the night she said a number of incidents took place.’
      • ‘My friend was staying over for 2 nights from Miami.’
      • ‘One night we were all staying over in a youth hostel located just next to a stretch of water.’
      • ‘Our plans were to stay over that night in Pontiac, in order to get the Amtrak mileage between Detroit and Pontiac.’
      • ‘We had ten people staying over on Saturday night, which was lovely obviously, but which I think the cats found rather traumatic.’
      • ‘Visitors staying over weren't exactly out of the ordinary.’
      • ‘My mom already said I could have some people stay over for the night, and I choose you three.’
      • ‘I was sure I had bypassed that late snowstorm that hit Denver last night, when I stayed over at my cousin's.’
  • stay up

    • Not go to bed.

      ‘they stayed up all night’
      • ‘I have stayed up for three days and three nights calling the number and getting no results.’
      • ‘I'm staying up later and later every night just looking at weird things.’
      • ‘I was beyond tired, probably due to the fact that my mother had made me stay up all night waiting for Chris to get home.’
      • ‘We stayed up almost all night to write about it as it happened.’
      • ‘Alfie stayed up last Thursday night to witness the historical result.’
      • ‘I read half the book in one night, and the next night I stayed up all night to finish it.’
      • ‘One night last week, 3 other female volunteers and myself stayed up quite late.’
      • ‘If the producer wants to change the user interface at the last minute, it's the programmer who stays up all night making the change.’
      • ‘He loves to play chess, often bringing his board with him on the bus, or staying up all night playing Eduardo.’
      • ‘After that I was a milkman's assistant which generally meant staying up all night and sleeping all day.’
      • ‘They, as usual, had stayed up to wait for her and they wanted to know if she had had a good time.’
      • ‘I tried to stay up and watch the curling on TV last night but I got bored and went to bed.’
      • ‘We had dinner in a beautiful restaurant and stayed up most of the night chatting and getting to know everyone.’
      • ‘He gets more leg spasms during the night so he stays up gaming to take his mind off the pain.’
      • ‘I was getting excited about being a person who stays up late and hangs out for some night life.’
      • ‘Some bad habits such as staying up late and surfing all night on the Net were also factors leading to hair loss in young people.’
      • ‘Barb consoled her and stayed up with her all night watching movies with the lights off.’
      • ‘One lady blamed the library for her sleepless nights, claiming once she has borrowed a good book she stays up all night till she finishes it.’
      • ‘Having slept for most of yesterday, I stayed up all last night on the computer.’
      • ‘He sleeps all day and stays up all night playing computer games.’
  • stay with

    • 1Remain in the mind or memory of.

      ‘Gary's words stayed with her all evening’
      • ‘Those who go away never return, but their memory stays with us forever.’
      • ‘I have rescued just about every animal you can think of and it's those memories that will always stay with me.’
      • ‘Although he went on to serve in North Africa, it is the memory of Dunkirk which stays with him above all else.’
      • ‘Memories of it stayed with me for years, but I wish that I had kept a journal and made note of the details.’
      • ‘The sun had gone for the time being but the memory of it stayed with me, sweet and languid, discouraging activity of any kind.’
      • ‘The pain from the blow would pass but the pain from the word stayed with him forever.’
      • ‘Make the last words stay with the listener long after you have left the spotlight.’
      • ‘The print words stayed with her and she pondered how to tell their tale.’
      • ‘But Madeline's words stayed with me for the rest of the morning and made their way into the afternoon with me.’
      • ‘What stays with you is the spaciousness and grace of these songs, not necessarily the individual sounds.’
      • ‘And although I didn't understand what he meant at the time, the words stayed with me.’
      • ‘It has been heartbreaking to lose so many times because it stays with you and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.’
      • ‘But his warm words of love stayed with her, filling her mind and making her heart sing.’
      • ‘‘Once you have seen these patients in such pain, it is carved into you and stays with you for the rest of your life,’ said a relative of a lung cancer victim.’
      • ‘It's not only the kind of film that stays with you long after the images fade to black, it is one of the most thought-provoking documentaries in a long time.’
      • ‘She knew she should just accept her cousin's death as natural, but an unsettled feeling continued to stay with her.’
      • ‘When I was a camper in upstate New York, I experienced bullying and the memory of that has stayed with me always.’
      • ‘I think we're often a bit harsh on people who don't perform, so that sense of shame stays with people.’
      • ‘The experience and memories will no doubt stay with the boys forever.’
      • ‘I mention it for one reason: because that night over dinner, he said something that stays with me today.’
    • 2Continue or persevere with (an activity or task)

      ‘the incentive needed to stay with a healthy diet’
      • ‘That being said, however, there are a few ways you can help condition your mind to stay with the task at hand.’
      • ‘However, it is clear from their display, if this group of players stay with it that silver is on the way in the near future.’
      • ‘She said she was boosted by her team-mates, who urged her to stay with it as she moved on to the javelin.’
      • ‘To avoid health problems, stay with balanced diets and fitness routines.’
      • ‘No longer under its self-defined political imperative to alter core policy in the short term to win government, the party stays with the policy that so deeply offends most members.’
      • ‘Was there a core of people organized and prepared to stay with a sustained campaign so as to provide continuity?’
      • ‘His brother, Graham, might have been an amateur international had he stayed with it.’
      • ‘In the interests of continuity, the selectors would seem likely to stay with what they have got for at least one more match.’
      • ‘Retired in 2000, he still finds coaching second best to riding, but stays with it because it is as close as he can get.’
      • ‘I think what helped us persevere and stay with it was that we kind of fell in love with our subjects.’
      • ‘Conventional thinking says that if he stays with it for two more years, he'll be a polished, pro-ready quarterback.’
      • ‘Why did you choose to stay with the American open-wheel racing?’
    • 3(of a competitor or player) keep up with (another) during a race or match.

      ‘Smith is so quick that an offensive tackle can't stay with him’
      • ‘Jamaal Tinsley and Kevin Ollie weren't strong enough or quick enough to stay with Kidd.’
      • ‘If Grissom fails, it will be interesting to see how long Lopes stays with him.’
      • ‘Rodgers is a good athlete and has enough speed to stay with tight ends and running backs.’
      • ‘If the defender in the middle opts to stay with Faulk, the clear-out receiver now is wide open.’
      • ‘Rodgers has the speed to stay with atoning backs and the strength to match up with tight ends.’
      • ‘Herndon had trouble staying with faster receivers and matching up with bigger ones.’
      • ‘Another concern is that Payton appeared to wear down with the Lakers in the postseason, and he had trouble staying with speedy opposing players.’
      • ‘Both players should be aggressive staying with the player they have switched without retreating.’
      • ‘Freeman played cornerback in college and is fast enough to stay with wide receivers.’
      • ‘The linemen must do a better job of staying with their blocks until the play is over.’
      • ‘He has the ability to chase down running plays, rush the passer and stay with most backs in coverage.’
      • ‘McQuarters is a smooth athlete who lacks top speed, but he can stay with most receivers.’
      • ‘Townsend is fast and athletic, which allows him to stay with the receiver and make plays.’


Late Middle English (as a verb): from Anglo-Norman French estai-, stem of Old French ester, from Latin stare to stand; in the sense ‘support’ ( stay and stay), partly from Old French estaye (noun), estayer (verb), of Germanic origin.




Main definitions of stay in English

: stay1stay2



  • 1A large rope, wire, or rod used to support a ship's mast, leading from the masthead to another mast or spar or down to another part of the ship.

    • ‘The mast will not come down until something else has broken because as long as all the stays and such are in place, the mast will stay.’
    • ‘A few minutes later I was shinning up the mast to whip a flag halyard to the stays.’
    strut, wire, brace, tether, prop, beam, rod, support, truss, buttress, pier, shaft, shore, stanchion, stake, stick, spike, post
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A guy or rope supporting a flagstaff or other upright pole.
      • ‘The stays were prefabricated parallel wire cables.’
      • ‘The cable stays were then stressed to their final length.’
      • ‘Britannia footbridge has been lifted into place and the cable stays are being fitted to support the bridge.’
      • ‘The solid awning was supported by vertical stays.’
    2. 1.2A supporting wire or cable on an aircraft.


  • Secure or steady (a mast) by means of stays.

    ‘her masts were stayed with lengths of telephone wire’
    brace, tether, strut, wire, prop, support, truss, buttress, shore up, stake, stick
    View synonyms


  • be in stays

    • (of a sailing ship) be head to the wind while tacking.

      • ‘At one stage we were in stays, in a wind shadow behind an islet.’
      • ‘A boat that's heading dead into the wind is said to be in stays or in irons.’
      • ‘The flapping of the sails while the boat was in stays awoke my companion, who sat up and, in a weak and husky voice, asked me what was the matter.’
      • ‘The breeze was fresh, the ship was in stays.’
      • ‘For those boats which have a tendency to be in stays, it is useful not to ease the Genova sheet until the boat turns fully to the opposite tack.’
      • ‘By making short tacks, however, the Theseus brought her guns to bear with such effect that the fort fired only an occasional gun when the ship was in stays.’
  • miss stays

    • (of a sailing ship) fail in an attempt to go about from one tack to another.

      • ‘You don't want to miss stays and be stuck dead in the water as a frigate fires a full broadside at your small sloop.’
      • ‘In working out, the ship missed stays, and was driven amongst the rocks, where she was wrecked.’
      • ‘A vessel is said to miss stays when she fails to get through the wind whilst going about and ends up hung in irons.’
      • ‘She was in charge of the pilot, but missed stays when too near the south sands, and struck where the Shark was wrecked 2 years before.’
      • ‘A wind change to the north about thirty minutes later forced the captain to tack, but the vessel missed stays and hung in the chains owing to a lack of way and a heavy swell.’
      • ‘She missed stays near the new harbour and was driven ashore on the north side of the bay where heavy surf was breaking.’
      • ‘In beating through the entrance to the bay, she missed stays and struck the rocks on the north side, opposite Fort Point.’
      • ‘Despite carrying topsails she misses stays when we try and come about and I am forced to wear ship.’
      • ‘At about 9 o'clock the wind hauled ahead and in missing stays she went ashore about a mile and a half below Port Sanilac.’
      • ‘When in 4 miles of land we attempted to tack but she missed stays, tried again and we went round about and we tried again to bout ship but whe missed stays twice over and then, wore ship.’


Old English stæg, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch stag, from a base meaning be firm.