Is there a universal verb or phrase in English which I can use to say that something is not moving (it can move but is not moving right now). For example:

  • The car is not going, it is . . .

  • The ball is not rolling, it is . . .

  • The boat is not sailing, it is . . .

  • The man is not walking, he is . . .

Can I use the phrase "stand still" in these examples?

  • 1
    You can use "at a standstill". You could also use "stationary". P.S. "The man" is usually a "he" not an "it" :)
    – Au101
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 23:05
  • 1
    Stationary is the best, "universal' word that fits all your sentences. See the entry in the M-W dictionary
    – user20792
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 21:12
  • 1
    "immobile" also covers all those examples, due to its literalness.
    – Euan M
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 10:47

2 Answers 2


There are a variety of words that can accomplish this goal. Most of them don't imply that the object can still move, but none of the ones I'm giving you imply that it can't. If you want to imply that it can still move, you could easily just add "right now", implying that at other times it may move.

  • "Still" — This is one of its meanings, and probably the simplest word to use here.

  • "Stationary" — This word means the same thing, though it sounds a bit more formal.

  • "Stopped" — This one implies that it had been moving at some point, which for all of your examples is most likely true. It won't necessarily start moving again, though. This word can also be applied to things that aren't motion, but I think it works well.

  • "Unmoving" — This just means not moving.

  • "Motionless" — This one implies that there is no movement at all, so it might not be exactly what you're looking for.

And, as Au101 said,

  • "at a standstill" — works perfectly as well, though a bit more wordy.
  • Is it better to say is unmoved instead of is unmoving ? The first word exists for sure.
    – chumakoff
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 23:28
  • 2
    No, "unmoved" means that something has not been moved. It means "not moved". "Unmoving" means "not moving", so it is the right adjective. On Merriam-Webster, neither of them appear in their free version (they might in the unabridged, though), but on dictionary.com, they both appear. They both sound like words, so you shouldn't get into trouble using them. Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 23:37
  • "Right now" is implied by the word is in "is still / stationary / etc".
    – Lawrence
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 23:40
  • Lawrence, while "is" may indeed imply that that statement is true "right now" it does not make any further implications. If I say "the light is red" I don't usually mean that it's red just right now, but rather that it's a red light - the light's red in general. If I said "the light's red right now", that would imply that the light can be other colors. I will admit that the context probably implies that other states are possible, but it is not the "is" that implies this. Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 23:46
  • 1
    @fireeeeeeeee Please remove the line "Google chrome tells me......." as "unmoving" is definitely a word.
    – Usernew
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 6:53

standing still - for something that isn't moving by the speaker or operator's choice.

stuck - for something that the speaker or operator wants to be moving but isn't.

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