I saw this in the Oxford Online Dictionary:

This shattering statistic crashed into Downing Street, where brows were being mopped and arrangements stood down.

This is a usage of the phrase "stand down" that I have never seen/heard before. I looked up The Free Dictionary and none of its definitions explains this usage. What does "stand down" mean here? And are there other examples of this usage that can be found in dictionaries?

2 Answers 2


In the Free Dictionary link you provided, I think this definition is what is meant in the quote:

To end a state of readiness or alert

Some arrangements that had been made ready were no longer needed or wanted due to the "shattering statistic", so they were made unready, i.e. stood down.


"stand down" is a naval term originally i believe. A common military term. It means to stop, halt, delay, in this case the arrangements which were being made.

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