The most common meaning for the word "stand" is to be up on two feet:
He’s standing on a table.
- The kids are standing on the corner.
- Lisa has to stand all day when she is at work.
- Yesterday I stood in line for twenty minutes at the post office.
There are other important meanings for this word that you must know. We often use "stand" as a verb to mean tolerate or allow:
- How much more of this can you stand?
- She can’t stand people who are rude. (She doesn’t like them.)
- Lewis couldn’t stand his boss, so he quit his job.
- I won’t stand for this. (I won’t allow this to happen.)
The verb "stand" is also used when describing symbols or letters that represent words:
A person can stand for something if he or she has a strong belief in a set of ideas:
- She stands for equal opportunity for women in the workplace.
- Their governor stands for more limited government.
- I stand for increasing access to a good education for people around the world.
- What do you stand for?
When you combine "stand" and "in" you create an idiom that means to substitute for someone:
- Ms. Ivy is standing in for our teacher today.
- Bob needs someone to stand in for him at the meeting.
- Do you know anyone who can stand in for you if you can’t make it to work?
When the word "by" is used to form stand by, it has a few different meanings.
- Gina stood by her husband as he was accused of illegal acitivites at work. (stand by = support)
- A group of people stood by and did nothing while an elderly woman was robbed. (stand by = to be inactive or to do nothing)
- You’ll have to stand by and wait for the next available flight. (stand by = wait)
- The director told the performers on the set to stand by just as the show was about to begin. (stand by = get ready)
When the word "stand" is used as a noun, it often refers to a small business of some kind:
- The farmer set up a stand by the side of the road to sell freshly picked corn.
- While at the state fair, we bought some hand made jewelry from a stand that sold things made in Wisconsin.
- The kids across the street set up a lemonade stand. They’re selling lemonade for 25 cents a cup.
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This page was first published on April 18, 2012. It was updated on May 24, 2015.