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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
poised between sth and sth
▪ Ahead of it the Wyrmberg turned from a distant toy to several billion tons of rock poised between heaven and earth.
▪ Like families gathered at Christmas, social animals are poised between cooperation and conflict.
▪ Anne is tall and thin, but lacks poise.
▪ Margerie was very beautiful, with the grace and poise of a movie star.
▪ The Bears were 13 points behind, but Coach Stenstrom maintained his poise and confidence.
▪ They felt that he lacked sufficient poise and confidence for the job.
▪ And it was a humdinger, delivered with passion and poise.
▪ And yet this gangsta poise coexists with a weirdly playful quality.
▪ From a state of poise and self-confidence, she was suddenly overwhelmingly self-conscious.
▪ Junior Marquez Shaw showed a lot of poise in completing nine of 12 passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns.
▪ Nigel was ostentatiously smoking a big cigar to give an illusion of poise.
▪ On the other hand, I can think of no group that will handle defeat with more poise and grace.
▪ With remarkable poise, he quickly put the two broken pieces in one hand and made an attempt to paddle canoe-style.
▪ The worm is now poised to emerge from its dormant phase and begin to spread rapidly by colonising more machines and sites.
▪ From outside bets to reach the play-offs, Leicester are now poised to break into the top two.
▪ The child's spoon was poised over the food.
▪ Bethany poised over the bed, a slight abstract frown clouding her face.
▪ At least, not until the three months had passed and the knife was poised over his own neck.
▪ Harold was flexing his muscles for the perfect balance, teeth bared, knife poised over his head.
▪ This girl looked as if she was on her first assignment, as she sat with pencil poised over her shorthand notebook.
▪ Now, at 18, Crowell is a teen-ager poised on the brink of adult-sized fame.
▪ A chunk of rubble half as high as a man was poised on the edge above the telephone box.
▪ She went very still, the sensation of being poised too near the edge of a precipice sweeping over her again.
▪ We are poised on the edge.
▪ To be sure, the on-line travel industry is still in its infancy, but it appears poised for explosive growth.
▪ People who can present themselves well appear more clever, poised and promotable.
▪ Now, the Seahawks appear poised to leave their solid fan base in Seattle for Southern California.
▪ But many now seem poised to vote for them.
▪ But platinum-blond Conger seemed poised and sensible.
▪ Apple seems poised on the verge of something.
▪ To Heather, she seemed delicate looking, poised with her hands loosely clasped in front.
▪ Katherine seemed more poised than she had the previous week.
▪ Bryant has a reputation as an unusually poised, thoughtful teenager, and Twardzik believes that those qualities would ripen in college.
▪ Feel elegant and poised as you do them.
▪ He made it plain, quite quickly, that he was poised to adore Anna.
▪ The man remained poised between the two like a bridge, without moving in one direction or the other.
▪ They are held together, poised upright like a pencil standing on its point, by the recursive dynamics of coevolution.
▪ To sit down in meditation and think of these mystical ideas is to poise oneself for the transcendent journey.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Poise \Poise\, v. i. To hang in equilibrium; to be balanced or suspended; hence, to be in suspense or doubt.

The slender, graceful spars Poise aloft in air.


Poise \Poise\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Poised, ; p. pr. & vb. n. Poising.] [OE. poisen, peisen, OF. & F. peser, to weigh, balance, OF. il peise, il poise, he weighs, F. il p[`e]se, fr. L. pensare, v. intens. fr. pendere to weigh. See Poise, n., and cf. Pensive.] [Formerly written also peise.]

  1. To balance; to make of equal weight; as, to poise the scales of a balance.

  2. To hold or place in equilibrium or equiponderance.

    Nor yet was earth suspended in the sky; Nor poised, did on her own foundation lie.

  3. To counterpoise; to counterbalance.

    One scale of reason to poise another of sensuality.

    To poise with solid sense a sprightly wit.

  4. To ascertain, as by the balance; to weigh.

    He can not sincerely consider the strength, poise the weight, and discern the evidence.

  5. To weigh (down); to oppress. [Obs.]

    Lest leaden slumber peise me down to-morrow.


Poise \Poise\, n. [OE. pois, peis, OF. pois, peis, F. poids, fr. L. pensum a portion weighed out, pendere to weigh, weigh out. Cf. Avoirdupois, Pendant, Poise, v.] [Formerly written also peise.]

  1. Weight; gravity; that which causes a body to descend; heaviness. ``Weights of an extraordinary poise.''

  2. The weight, or mass of metal, used in weighing, to balance the substance weighed.

  3. The state of being balanced by equal weight or power; equipoise; balance; equilibrium; rest.

  4. That which causes a balance; a counterweight.

    Men of unbounded imagination often want the poise of judgment.

  5. a dignified and self-confident manner; graceful composure and tact in handling difficult social situations.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

early 15c., "weight, quality of being heavy," later "significance, importance" (mid-15c.), from Old French pois "weight, balance, consideration" (12c., Modern French poids), from Medieval Latin pesum "weight," from Latin pensum "something weighted or weighed," (source of Provençal and Catalan pes, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian peso), noun use of neuter past participle of pendere "to weigh" (see pendant).\n

\nThe sense of "steadiness, composure" first recorded 1640s, from notion of being equally weighted on either side (1550s). Meaning "balance" is from 1711; meaning "way in which the body is carried" is from 1770.


late 14c., "to have a certain weight," from stressed form of Old French peser "to weigh, be heavy; weigh down, be a burden; worry, be a concern," from Vulgar Latin *pesare, from Latin pensare "to weigh carefully, weigh out, counter-balance," frequentative of pendere (past participle pensus) "to weigh" (see pendant). For form evolution from Latin to French, see OED. Meaning "to place in equilibrium" is from 1630s (compare equipoise). Passive sense of "to be ready" (to do something) is from 1932. Related: Poised; poising. In 15c. a poiser was an official who weighed goods.


n. 1 (context obsolete English) weight; an amount of weight, the amount something weighs. 2 The weight, or mass of metal, used in weighing, to balance the substance weighed. 3 That which causes a balance; a counterweight. 4 A state of balance, equilibrium or stability 5 composure; freedom from embarrassment or affectation 6 mien; bearing or deportment of the head or body 7 A condition of hovering, or being suspended 8 (context physics English) A cgs unit of dynamic viscosity equal to one dyne-second per square centimeter. vb. 1 (context obsolete English) To hang in equilibrium; to be balanced or suspended; hence, to be in suspense or doubt. 2 (context obsolete English) To counterpoise; to counterbalance. 3 (context obsolete English) To be of a given weight; to weigh. (14th-17th c.) 4 (context obsolete English) To add weight to, to weigh down. (16th-18th c.) 5 (context now rare English) To hold (something) (term with English) or (term against English) something else in equilibrium; to balance, counterpose. (from 16th c.) 6 To hold (something) in equilibrium, to hold balanced and ready; to carry (something) ready to be used. (from 16th c.) 7 To keep (something) in equilibrium; to hold suspended or balanced. (from 17th c.) 8 To ascertain, as if by balancing; to weigh.

  1. n. a cgs unit of dynamic viscosity equal to one dyne-second per square centimeter; the viscosity of a fluid in which a force of one dyne per square centimeter maintains a velocity of 1 centimeter per second

  2. a state of being balanced in a stable equilibrium

  3. great coolness and composure under strain; "keep your cool" [syn: aplomb, assuredness, cool, sang-froid]

  4. v. be motionless, in suspension; "The bird poised for a few moments before it attacked"

  5. prepare (oneself) for something unpleasant or difficult [syn: brace]

  6. cause to be balanced or suspended

  7. hold or carry in equilibrium [syn: balance]


The poise (symbol P, ) is the unit of dynamic viscosity in the centimetre gram second system of units. It is named after Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille.

1 P = 0.100 kg ⋅ m ⋅ s = 1 g ⋅ cm ⋅ s

The analogous unit in the International System of Units is the pascal second (Pa·s):

1 Pa ⋅ s = 1 kg ⋅ m ⋅ s = 10 P

The poise is often used with the metric prefixcenti- because the viscosity of water at 20°C is almost exactly 1 centipoise. A centipoise is one one-hundredth of a poise, and one millipascal-second (mPa·s) in SI units. (1 cP = 10 Pa·s = 1 mPa·s)

The centipoise is properly abbreviated cP, but the alternative abbreviations cps, cp, and cPs are also commonly seen.

Water has a viscosity of 0.00899 poise at 25 °C and a pressure of 1 atmosphere. (0.00899 P = 0.899cP = 0.899 mPa·s)

Usage examples of "poise".

She was always so self-contained, so immaculate, so perfectly poised and turned out that his need to see her with her mouth swollen after love, her hair tangled by his fingers, her eyes languorous and heavy, her breathing quickened, sharp and desirous, was sometimes so great that he ached to reach out and take hold of her.

Clodius Afer asked in a cautionary tone, the helmet poised between his palms and the hinged cheek pieces flopping over the backs of his hands.

In the dingy little dining-room of the Albergo Monte Gazza, a mountain inn miles from anywhere, situation arduous for walkers and pointless for cars, tariff humanely adjusted to the purses of the penniless, his poise and finish made him a grotesque.

Still poised to run, Alec took a wary look back and realized his mistake.

There a snake was poised, not coiled, not menacing to strike, simply waiting, with round head alift and trembling tongue.

NORMALLY, Renz was a man of poise, while Alker was inclined to be nervous.

Even then, among the debris with smuts all over his face, he still retained his poise.

Grand Dame Alpha, stalking through the wolves with a strength and poise that Michael would never have imagined, considering her age.

The grosbeak sang on, a big Turnus butterfly sailed through the arbour and poised over the table.

And, last of those I knew well, Tamor the Armiger, Towering Tamor, poised upon the balls of his feet as though about to take flight, Grandfather Tamor, strong and dependable, quick in judgment, instant in action.

CHAPTER ONE BIG JOE, the tiger cat, poised for another playful spring at the tangle of cod line Asey Mayo was patiently unwinding in the woodshed of his Cape Cod home, abruptly changed his mind in mid - air.

Deep-piled and incredibly soft was the blue floor cloth beneath our feet, platforms large and small standing in many places upon it, slaves both male and female astand beside and about them, in the shadows, poised ever ready to be commanded to their tasks.

Occasionally they darted sidelong glances at the Baptist, shaking and nodding their heads as they spoke, but striving to maintain their poise.

Ollia Bekke poised tense and trembling, and with the first lick of blood-colored lightning from her Globe a slick of sweat shone on her brow.

The mind-calming Bene Gesserit regimen his mother had taught him kept him poised, ready to expand any opportunity.