sit still: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘sit still’ mean?

"Sit still" means to remain motionless or to stay in one place without moving. It can also imply staying calm and patient in a situation.

Idiom Explorer


'stay put' is a related idiom that is similar in meaning to 'sit still'. It is often used to advise someone to remain in the same place or position without moving. Just like 'sit still', 'stay put' can be used both literally and figuratively. Literally, it encourages individuals to maintain their current position or location, without wandering or moving unnecessarily. Figuratively, it is used to advise someone to remain patient and not take action or make any changes in a situation, emphasizing the importance of staying calm and composed.

'sit tight' is another related idiom that shares similarities with 'sit still'. It is primarily used in the context of waiting or staying in one place for an extended period of time, without becoming restless or impatient. Like 'sit still', 'sit tight' emphasizes the importance of remaining calm and composed, even in situations where waiting or enduring is necessary. This idiom promotes the idea of being patient and not rushing into action, trusting that things will work out in due time.

Sit still and don't move.

'stock-still' is yet another related idiom that is closely linked to 'sit still'. It is used to describe a state of complete immobility or absolute stillness. The word 'stock' in this idiom refers to a log or block of wood, which symbolizes a lack of movement or activity. 'Stock-still' is often used to emphasize the absence of any motion or activity, highlighting the importance of staying perfectly still or quiet in a given situation, both physically and mentally. This idiom underscores the notion of remaining calm and composed, suggesting that even the slightest movement or disturbance could have negative consequences.

Lastly, 'sit one's ass down' is a related idiom that adds a bit of informality and emphasis to the concept of 'sit still'. This idiom reinforces the idea of physically sitting down and remaining in one position without moving. It is often used to address someone who is restless or agitated, encouraging them to calm down and settle into one place. 'Sit one's ass down' reflects a more direct and colloquial approach to conveying the importance of stillness and emphasizes the need to take a break, relax, and be patient.

The idiom 'sit still' is a versatile phrase that conveys the importance of remaining still or stationary, either physically or mentally, to achieve a desired outcome. It can be used both literally and figuratively to highlight the value of patience, composure, and self-control. Additionally, related idioms such as 'stay put', 'sit tight', 'stock-still', and 'sit one's ass down' further emphasize these concepts and offer variations in language and tone. Whether used to discipline children, advise someone to be patient, or emphasize complete stillness, these idioms provide valuable insights into the intricacies of the English language and the importance of remaining calm and focused in various situations.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "sit still" can be used in a sentence:

  • 1. The teacher told the students to sit still and pay attention.
  • 2. I can't concentrate on my work when my brother is constantly moving around. I wish he would just sit still for a moment.
  • 3. The baby finally fell asleep, so I carefully laid her in her crib and tried to sit still so as not to wake her.

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