American English

Definition of stage noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a period or state that something or someone passes through while developing or making progress This technology is still in its early stages. The children are at different stages of development. The product is at the design stage. People tend to work hard at this stage of life. At one stage it looked as though they would win. Don't worry about the baby not wanting to leave you—it's a stage they go through.
  2. part of process
  3. 2[countable] a separate part that a process, etc. is divided into synonym phase We did the first stage of the trip by train. The police are building up a picture of the incident stage by stage. The pay increase will be introduced in stages (= not all at once). We can take the argument one stage further. Language Bankprocessdescribing a process This diagram illustrates the process of paper-making. / This diagram shows how paper is made. First/First of all, logs are delivered to a paper mill, where the bark is removed and the wood is cut into small chips. Next/Second, the wood chips are pulped, either using chemicals or in a pulping machine. Pulping breaks down the internal structure of the wood and enables/allows the natural oils to be removed. Once/After the wood has been pulped, the pulp is bleached in order to remove impurities. /…is bleached so that impurities can be removed. The next stage is to feed the pulp into the paper machine, where it is mixed with water and then poured onto a wire conveyor belt. As the pulp travels along the conveyor belt, the water drains away. This causes the solid material to sink to the bottom, forming a layer of paper. At this point the new paper is still wet, so it is passed between large heated rollers, which press out the remaining water and simultaneously dry the paper. / …dry the paper at the same time. The final stage is to wind the paper onto large rolls. /Finally, the paper is wound onto large rolls.
  4. theater
  5. 3[countable] a raised area, usually in a theater, etc. where actors, dancers, etc. perform The audience threw flowers onto the stage. There were more than 50 people on stage in one scene. They marched off stage to the sound of trumpets. see also backstage, offstage, onstage
  6. 4the stage [singular] the theater and the world of acting as a form of entertainment His parents didn't want him to go on the stage (= to be an actor). She was a popular star of stage and screen (= theater and movies).
  7. in politics
  8. 5[singular] an area of activity where important things happen, especially in politics She was forced to the center of the political stage. China is playing a leading role on the international stage. see also center stage
  9. carriage
  10. 6[countable] (old-fashioned) (informal) = stagecoach
  11. Idioms
    set the stage for something
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    to make it possible for something to happen; to make something likely to happen Family problems in childhood can set the stage for stress in adult life.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: stage