The Meaning of Stance: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of stance? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word stance, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word stance mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, Cambridge English Language Dictionary, and Dictionary, the word stance (pronounced stæns)is a noun that is used to refer to an opinion or way of thinking about something, as well as a particular way of standing. The first definition of the word stance can refer to someone’s mental attitude, emotional position, or intellectual attitude. The second definition of the word stance is often used to refer to a golfer’s relative position of the feet when they are about to hit a golf ball. Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

There are also many different languages that use words that mean stance. You may notice that many of these words look and sound similar to one another. These cognates are often formed when words have a similar origin in languages like Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word stance is provided by Word Sense.

  • Norwegian: standpunkt‎ (neut.)
  • Chinese – Mandarin: 立場‎, 立场‎ (lìchǎng), 姿態‎, 姿态‎ (zītài), 態度‎, 态度‎ (tàidù)
  • Swedish: ståndpunkt‎ (common)
  • Italian: opinione‎ (fem.), punto di vista‎ (masc.), posizione‎ (fem.)
  • Polish: stanowisko‎ (neut.)
  • Scottish Gaelic: seasamh‎ (masc.)
  • Spanish: posición‎ (fem.), estance
  • Czech: postoj‎ (masc.), pohled‎ (masc.), názor‎ (masc.)
  • Dutch: standpunt‎ (neut.), opinie‎ (fem.)
  • French: position‎ (fem.), attitude‎ (fem.)
  • Japanese: 立場‎ (たちば, tachiba), 姿勢‎ (しせい, shisei), 態度‎ (たいど, taido)
  • Russian: пози́ция‎ (fem.), взгляд‎ (masc.), отноше́ние‎ (neut.), то́чка зре́ния‎ (fem.)
  • Finnish: asenne‎, asennoituminen‎, kanta‎, näkökanta‎
  • Vietnamese: quan điểm‎
  • German: Haltung‎ (fem.), Einstellung‎ (fem.), Verhältnis‎ (neut.), Standpunkt‎ (masc.), point de vue‎ (masc.)
  • Portuguese: postura‎ (fem.), posição‎ (fem.)

How can the word stance be used in a sentence?

The word stance can be used in numerous different ways, either to refer to someone’s opinion or beliefs on a given topic or issue, as well as to describe a certain way of standing. In this first example, it will be used to refer to someone’s opinion. HEre, Ruby and June are in a class debate about the school uniform policy.

Ruby: I believe the school should implement uniforms. We already have a strict dress code, and uniforms would eliminate many female students getting in trouble every day. Additionally, uniforms are an equalizer, and will eliminate any competitive behavior about style or fashion that leads to bullying.

Teacher: June, your stance on the issue?

June: I believe that we should eliminate the dress code altogether and let people dress how they want! It’s the 21st century, we are way beyond uniforms. Let people express themselves!

In this example, Ruby and June’s teacher asks for their respective stances, or opinions, on the issue of uniforms. Then, they each share their beliefs on the topic. In this next example, stance will be used to refer to a person’s posture. Ruby and June are at gymnastics practice.

Coach: June, stand up straight. Your stance is the first thing that the judges see.

June: Who cares? Why can’t I just impress them with my routine?

Coach: Because your posture is what signals confidence. Look at Ruby. Shoulders back, eyes up. That’s a confident competitor. If you walk in hunched over, the judges – and you – will think you’re nervous and prepared for failure.

Harem Ruby and June’s coach refers to their posture by the word stance.

What is the origin of the word stance?

According to Etymonline, the word stance has been used since the 1530s to mean some standing place or station. This word likely comes from the Old French stance which has meant resting place or harbor since the 16th century. This comes from the Vulgar Latin stantia, which meant place or abode. This is also the source of the Italian stanza, meaning stopping place or station as well as the Spanish stancia meaning a dwelling. This comes from the Latin stāns which is the genitive stantis, the present participle of stare meaning to stand. This is from the Proto-Indo-European root sta meaning to stand or to be firm. This was used to refer to the position of the feet in golf or other sports in the year 1897. This word has been used figuratively to refer to a point of view since the year 1956.

What are synonyms for the word stance?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word stance. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you want to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you are trying to expand your vocabulary. The below list of synonyms for the word stance is provided by Thesaurus

  • conception
  • assessment
  • carriage
  • presupposition
  • vantage point
  • color
  • deportment
  • theorem
  • twist
  • thought
  • think
  • long view
  • respect
  • conjecture
  • thesis
  • attitude
  • port
  • standpoint
  • posture
  • perspective
  • postulate
  • persuasion
  • point of view
  • viewpoint
  • surmise
  • stand
  • presumption
  • theory
  • direction
  • slant
  • state
  • mind
  • assumption
  • position
  • angle
  • disposition
  • judgment
  • mien
  • frame of reference
  • bearing
  • positure
  • say-so
  • fancy
  • demeanor
  • point of observation
  • eye
  • hypothesis
  • estimate
  • inference
  • guess
  • presence
  • light
  • set
  • suspicion
  • inclination
  • view
  • estimation
  • imagining
  • situation
  • brace
  • outlook
  • feeling
  • speculation
  • aspect
  • reaction
  • pose
  • ground
  • conclusion
  • notion
  • supposition
  • sentiment
  • condition
  • phase
  • opinion
  • two cents’ worth
  • take
  • idea
  • side
  • mode
  • impression

Overall, the word stance is a noun that is used to refer to someone’s position or opinion on something, as well as a certain standing posture. This is a very versatile word of Latin origin that can be used in numerous different circumstances. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/stance
  2. https://www.wordsense.eu/stance/
  3. https://www.etymonline.com/word/stance
  4. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stance
  5. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/stance
  6. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/stance