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A man adopting the baddha utthita parsvakonasana asana or yoga stance (sense 1)
Italy's Arianna Errigo (left) and Germany’s Carolin Golubytskyi taking fencing stances (sense 1) during the 2013 World Fencing Championships in Budapest, Hungary

From Middle English staunce (place to stand; battle station; position; standing in society; circumstance, situation; stanchion), from Old French estance (predicament; situation; sojourn, stay)[1] (compare modern French stance (stanza; position one stands in when golfing)), from Italian stanza (room, standing place; stanza),[2] from Latin stāns (standing; remaining, staying), from Latin stō (to stand; to remain, stay), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *steh₂- (to stand (up)). The word is cognate with Spanish estante (shelf).

The verb is derived from the noun.[3]



stance (plural stances)

  1. The manner, pose, or posture in which one stands.
    The fencer’s stance showed he was ready to begin.
  2. One's opinion or point of view.
    Synonyms: position, posture, stand
    I don’t agree with your stance on gun control.
    • 2012 April 23, Angelique Chrisafis, “François Hollande on top but far right scores record result in French election”, in The Guardian[1], London, archived from the original on 15 September 2017:
      His [François Hollande's] stance as being against the world of finance and his proposal of a 75% tax on incomes over €1m (£817,000) was approved by a majority in polls. He was convinced that his more measured, if ploddingly serious, style would win out with an electorate tired of [Nicolas] Sarkozy's bling and frenetic policy initiatives.
  3. A place to stand; a position, a site, a station.
    1. (specifically, climbing) A foothold or ledge on which to set up a belay.
  4. (Scotland) A place for buses or taxis to await passengers; a bus stop, a taxi rank.
    Synonym: stand
  5. (Scotland) A place where a fair or market is held; a location where a street trader can carry on business.
    Synonym: stand
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Walter Scott to this entry?)
  6. (obsolete, rare) A stanza.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chapman to this entry?)



stance (third-person singular simple present stances, present participle stancing, simple past and past participle stanced)

  1. (transitive, Scotland) To place, to position, to station; (specifically) to put (cattle) into an enclosure or pen in preparation for sale.


  1. ^ staunce, n.(2)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 30 September 2018.
  2. ^ stance, n.2”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1915; “stance” (US) / “stance” (UK) in Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ stance, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1915.

Further reading[edit]