American English

Definition of stay verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    stay

     verb
    verb
    NAmE//steɪ//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they stay
     
    he / she / it stays
     
    past simple stayed
     
    -ing form staying
     
     
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  1. 1 [intransitive] to continue to be in a particular place for a period of time without moving away to stay in bed “Do you want a drink?” “No, thanks, I can't stay.” Stay there and don't move! We ended up staying for lunch. She stayed at home (= did not go out to work) while the children were young. I'm staying late at the office tonight. My hat won't stay on! Can you stay behind after they leave and help me clean up? I can stay a few minutes longer. We stayed to see what would happen. stay doing something They stayed talking until well into the night. In spoken English stay can be used with and plus another verb, instead of with to and the infinitive, to show purpose or to tell somebody what to do:I'll stay and help you.Can you stay and keep an eye on the baby?
  2. 2 [intransitive] to continue to be in a particular state or situation synonym remain + adj. He never stays angry for long. I can't stay awake any longer. The store stays open late on Thursdays. Stay tuned (= used to ask people to continue listening to or watching a particular program on the radio or television). + adv./prep. I don't know why they stay together (= remain married or in a relationship). Inflation stayed below 4% last month. She did not want to stay in nursing all her life. The TV stays on all day in their house. + noun We promised to stay friends forever.
  3. 3 [intransitive] to live in a place temporarily as a guest or visitor We found out we were staying in the same hotel. My sister's coming to stay next week. He's staying with friends this weekend. I stayed three nights at my cousin's house.
  4. Idioms
    be here to stay, have come to stay
     
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    to be accepted or used by most people and therefore a permanent part of our lives It looks like televised trials are here to stay.
    hang/stay loose (informal)
     
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    to remain calm; to not worry It's OK—hang loose and stay cool.
    keep/stay/steer clear (of somebody/something)
     
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    to avoid a person or thing because it may cause problems Steer clear of the center of town at this time of the evening.
    keep/stay/steer clear (of somebody/something)
     
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    to avoid a person or thing because it may cause problems Steer clear of the center of town at this time of the evening.
    used to tell a dog not to move
    stay the course
     
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    to continue doing something until it has finished or been completed, even though it is difficult Very few of the trainees have stayed the course.
    stay your hand (old-fashioned or literary)
     
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    to stop yourself from doing something; to prevent you from doing something
    stay the night
     
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    to sleep at someone's house for one night You can always stay the night at our house.
    stay put (informal)
     
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    if someone or something stays put, they continue to be in the place where they are or where they have been put He chose to stay put while the rest of us toured the area.
    Phrasal Verbsstay aroundstay away (from somebody/something)stay instay onstay outstay out of somethingstay overstay up
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: stay