American English

Definition of pause noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] pause (in something) a period of time during which someone stops talking or stops what they are doing There was a long pause before she answered. David waited for a pause in the conversation so he could ask his question. After a brief pause, they continued climbing. The rain fell without pause.
  2. 2[countable] (also fermata) (music) a sign (͒) over a note or a rest to show that it should be longer than usual
  3. 3[uncountable] (also pause button) a control that allows you to stop a CD player, tape recorder, etc. for a short time Press pause to stop the tape.
  4. Idioms
    give (somebody) pause (also give (somebody) pause for thought) (formal)
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    to make someone think seriously about something or hesitate before doing something Popular resistance to the measures should give the government pause.
    a pregnant pause/silence
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    an occasion when nobody speaks, although people are aware that there are feelings or thoughts to express There was a pregnant pause before she replied.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: pause

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