Meaning of “pause” in the English Dictionary

"pause" in British English

See all translations


uk /pɔːz/ us /pɑːz/

B2 [ C ] a short period in which something such as a sound or an activity is stopped before starting again:

There will be a brief pause in the proceedings while the piano is moved into place.
After a long, awkward pause, someone finally asked a question.
She spoke for three quarters of an hour without so much as a pause.
There followed a pregnant (= filled with meaning) pause in which neither of them knew what to say.

[ U ] also pause button [ C ] a button or control that allows you to stop a recording for a short time:

I pressed pause/the pause button so I could go make a cup of tea.

[ C ] UK specialized music a period of silence between musical notes, or a symbol that represents this


[ C ] specialized music a symbol in music meaning that a note or rest should be held for longer than normal

More examples

  • After a pause, he gave a careful answer.
  • There was a long pause and I wondered what to say next.
  • I waited for a pause in the conversation and then asked my question.
  • There'll be a brief pause while we change the tapes over.
  • After a brief pause for lunch, they continued climbing.



uk /pɔːz/ us /pɑːz/

B1 [ I ] to stop doing something for a short time:

He paused and thought for a moment.
She paused to catch her breath, and then kept on jogging.

B2 [ I or T ] to make a recording stop for a short time by pressing a button:

Can you pause the movie there, please?
It is now possible to pause and rewind live television.
She paused at key moments in the scene.

More examples

  • He paused for a moment to listen and then continued eating.
  • He paused at the top of the hill and mopped his brow .
  • She paused to light another cigarette and then went on with her account of the accident.
  • Without pausing to draw breath she told me everything.
  • Pausing briefly to put on her jumper, Becky carried on along the path.

(Definition of “pause” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"pause" in American English

See all translations

pausenoun [ C ]

us /pɔz/

a moment in which something, such as a sound or an activity, stops before starting again:

There was a long pause during which we all wondered what he would say next.
verb [ I ] us /pɔz/

She paused to catch her breath.

(Definition of “pause” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)