Definition of stationary in US English:



  • 1Not moving or not intended to be moved.

    ‘a car collided with a stationary vehicle’
    • ‘The weapon system is stabilised in two axes, which allows the vehicle to engage targets stationary or on the move.’
    • ‘A typical toy usually combines stationary and moving staircases; the latter moves periodically up and down.’
    • ‘The course mostly dealt with giving and taking commands, as well as keeping in formation, and obviously shooting moving and stationary targets.’
    • ‘The system gives 3D target location and tracking of stationary and moving targets.’
    • ‘I enjoyed driving it, I love the smooth way you go from stationary to moving - it's like a locomotive.’
    • ‘Alongside the moving tram queues are stationary traffic queues.’
    • ‘The camera is stationary, the line moves forward, and we see, in each of his farewells, the nature of his relationship with that man.’
    • ‘So, it is not good sense to interpret the state of an electron in a stationary orbital as perpetual motion.’
    • ‘They were crossing two lanes of stationary or slow moving traffic to get to the Springbok wine bar.’
    • ‘Soldiers are taught to acquire and engage targets from stationary positions, on the move, to the flank, and from a variety of ranges both during the day and at night.’
    • ‘We were basically working on electromagnetic radiation, wherein we were trying to form waves with a rope tied to a stationary object and were moving our arms up and down rapidly.’
    • ‘They'd rounded a wide corner and hopped off the moving sidewalk to a stationary platform facing a huge window.’
    • ‘The whole place was stationary with nothing moving at all.’
    • ‘It can engage targets while stationary and on the move, using missiles for long-range targets and guns for close-in defence.’
    • ‘All targets were farther away than 1800 meters, with most of them between 2500 and 3750 meters, both moving and stationary.’
    • ‘For those new to biceps training, your elbows should remain stationary while your hands move upward toward the shoulders.’
    • ‘He stood stationary and the antenna moved, pointing to the ammunition, in plain view of everyone.’
    • ‘For example, patients may be encouraged to move the treadmill or stationary cycle in front of the television, or consider having a low step-aerobics box in the kitchen.’
    • ‘The line of sight stabilisation in elevation and azimuth provides high hit probability for stationary and on the move engagements against stationary and moving targets.’
    • ‘Armed with Hellfire missiles, Predators became hunters and destroyed stationary and moving targets.’
    motionless, parked, halted, stopped, immobilized, immobile, unmoving, still, static, stock-still, at a standstill, at rest, not moving
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    1. 1.1Astronomy (of a planet) having no apparent motion in longitude.
      • ‘If the planet were stationary, the slow-down effect would be equal to the initial acceleration, so there would be no net gain in speed.’
      • ‘As the Earth rotates on its axis from west to east, it appears from our apparently stationary viewpoint that the stars rise in the east, culminate on the upper meridian and set in the west.’
      • ‘After being retrograde since July, the planet appears stationary on the 30th and thereafter returns to normal west to east motion.’
      • ‘Polaris, the North Star, appears stationary in the sky because it is positioned close to the line of Earth's axis projected into space.’
    2. 1.2 Not changing in quantity or condition.
      ‘a stationary population’
      • ‘All strains were cultured under dark, stationary conditions at 37° in standard Petri dishes.’
      • ‘Under the neutral model, and have equal expectations in a stationary population.’
      • ‘If you were on a ship next to another ship and one of the ships started moving away from the stationary ship.’
      • ‘Finally, step trials were compared with the stationary target conditions, using the final target location as the basis for comparison.’
      • ‘In part, this is due to prevention campaigns and better compliance with drug regimens (it's easier to supervise a stationary population).’
      • ‘For instance, fertility inheritance in a stationary population will, in some aspects, affect the coalescent tree in a similar way as population growth.’
      • ‘As a consequence, Prague has continued to grow steadily even though the national population is virtually stationary.’
      • ‘The economics of a stationary or declining population need be no more painful than those of an expanding one.’
      • ‘These estimates are lower than that required for our population to remain stationary.’
      • ‘When the solution is placed as a thin film under stationary conditions, concentric or spiral wave patterns develop in the solution.’
      • ‘As an econometrician I have my doubts about the ratio of a non-stationary quantity and a stationary one.’
      • ‘It is based on the probability of having a number of alleles greater or equal to the observed number in sample drawn from a stationary population.’
      • ‘The 48-hr transfer cycle ensured that the slower-growing non-BHK populations attained stationary densities.’
      • ‘Under stationary growth conditions the level of σ increases from almost undetectable levels to about one third the amount of σ.’
      • ‘The mutation rate was the same as that considered for the stationary populations.’
      • ‘‘In India the problem is more the standing / stationary condition of the temple elephants,’ says Chiran.’
      • ‘Under normal conditions, the population would not have remained stationary but grown.’
      • ‘When it was assumed that these mutations were neutral, their frequency was higher under shaken than under stationary conditions, possibly due to oxygen stress.’
      unchanging, unvarying, invariable, constant, consistent, uniform, unchanged, changeless, fixed, stable, steady, undeviating
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The words stationary and stationery are often confused. Stationary is an adjective that means ‘not moving or not intended to be moved,’ as in his car collided with a stationary vehicle, whereas stationery is a noun that means ‘writing and other office materials,’ as in I wrote to my father on the hotel stationery


Late Middle English: from Latin stationarius (originally in the sense ‘belonging to a military station’), from statio(n-) ‘standing’ (see station).