Definition for STAY

STAY, n.

  1. Continuance in a place; abode for a time indefinite; as, you make a short stay in this city. Embrace the hero, and his stay implore. – Waller.
  2. Stand; stop; cessation of motion or progression. Affairs of state seem'd rather to stand at a stay. – Hayward. [But in this sense, we now use stand; to be at a stand.]
  3. Stop; obstruction; hinderance from progress. Griev'd with each step, tormented with each stay. – Fairfax.
  4. Restraint of passion; moderation; caution; steadiness; sobriety. With prudent stay, he long defered / The rough contention. [Obs.] – Philips.
  5. A fixed state. Alas, what stay is there in human state! Dryden.
  6. Prop; support. Trees serve as so many stays for their vines. – Addison. My only strength and stay! – Milton. The Lord is my stay. – Ps. xviii. The stay and the staff, the means of supporting and preserving life. – Is. iii.
  7. Steadiness of conduct. – Todd.
  8. In the rigging of a ship, a large strong rope employed to support the mast, by being extended from its upper end to the stem of the ship. The fore-stay reaches from the foremast head toward the bowsprit end; the main-stay extends to the ship's stem; the mizzen-stay is stretched to a collar on the main-mast, above the quarter deck, &c. – Mar. Dict. Stays, in seamanship, implies the operation of going about or changing the course of a ship, with a shifting of the sails. To be in stays, is to lie with the head to the wind, and the sails so arranged as to check her progress. To miss stays, to fail in the attempt to go about. – Mar. Dict.

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