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She has great charm and great poise.
  in control or prepared

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based on context)
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poised poise poises poising
The exact meaning of poise is often subject to its context. For example:
  • "shows poise under pressure" — coolness and composure under strain — often in social situations
  • "the poise and balance of a dancer" — to hold oneself or move with balance, grace and beauty
  • "poised for action" — ready and waiting
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  • She has great charm and great poise.
  • The once self-conscious girl is now a woman with considerable poise.
  • She has such balance and poise, she can effortlessly move, jump, and change position on the balance beam.
  • skis with more passion than poise (balance and grace)

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  • The army is poised to attack. (ready and waiting)
  • The Senate is poised for a vote. (ready and waiting)
  • a rattlesnake poised to strike (ready and waiting)
  • I’m helpless as the first hunter crashes through the trees, spear lifted, poised to throw.
    Suzanne Collins  --  The Hunger Games
  • He sits lightly, poised, upright, wooden-faced in the saddle, the broken hat raked at a swaggering angle.
    William Faulkner  --  As I Lay Dying
  • But the young body carried a sense of command, a poised assurance,
    Frank Herbert  --  Dune

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  • Archie was at the doorway, poised to flee if Janza made a move.
    Robert Cormier  --  The Chocolate War
  • He grasped the bars of the window firmly, ready to pull, and stood poised.
    Natalie Babbitt  --  Tuck Everlasting
  • There, on the biggest stage, a tattoo needle poised like a blowgun dart in his rose-crusted hand, stood Mr Dark, the Illustrated Man.
    Ray Bradbury  --  Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • He was poised as if to begin running.
    David Almond  --  Kit’s Wilderness
  • Bella stood frozen, poised to run if the clerk picked up the phone to call the police.
    Margaret Peterson Haddix  --  Uprising
  • "We just have to remember everything Silvia taught us about poise," Elise commented.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Elite
  • Though she tried to remain poised, her voice began to crack as she went on.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Longest Ride
  • Elise was so poised, it said, but she also only had eight percent of the population pulling for her.
    Kiera Cass  --  The One
  • After such a trying week, you were incredibly poised.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Heir
  • She saw face first; he had landed in a crouch, poised to fight.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Heavenly Fire
  • You have your little indie release; it does well; you were poised for the big leagues, but then this lag.
    Gayle Forman  --  Where She Went
  • "I can’t believe how poised you were," Francis said, and he kissed her—a dry, professional kiss on the lips.
    Dave Eggers  --  The Circle
  • The hollow looked up to see the rock sailing toward it and poised to jump again—but there wasn’t time.
    Ransom Riggs  --  Hollow City
  • I was poised to run, but before the bartender could even get out from behind the bar Emma had upended the drink he’d poured her, spilling brown liquor everywhere.
    Ransom Riggs  --  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • Angeline watched them for a second or two, poised and lovely, then leaped over the rim and down to the valley floor, where she was mobbed.
    Farley Mowat  --  Never Cry Wolf
  • When he finally pulled his gaze upward, he seemed almost surprised to find Chronicler sitting across the table, pen poised above his inkwell.
    Patrick Rothfuss  --  The Name of the Wind
  • The mother and her friends are knee-deep in the water, Renny is somewhere I can’t see, and even Liv has waded in to her waist, her silken wrap ruined, her hands waving spastically in a way that frightens me; I think I have never seen her like this, anything but perfectly poised and comported.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  A Gesture Life
  • Stripes’s blade, poised on Snow’s wing joint, catches the moon’s reflection.
    Susan Ee  --  Angelfall
  • He crouches, poised to leap at me.
    Pittacus Lore  --  I Am Number Four
  • The servant’s hands trembled and slowly lifted the knife until the glistening edge was poised at the corner of her eye.
    Marissa Meyer  --  Cinder
  • I could see them, mugs poised in their hands, the only two people facing away from the theater next door.
    Jojo Moyes  --  Me Before You
  • He was so poised, so unassuming, so free of acne.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Trials of Apollo
  • JAN. 10—The annual Posture Queen award at Barnard College was given yesterday to Miss Marjory Schulhoff of Pelham, N.Y. Freshmen were judged on the basis of carriage, poise and ease of movement, both walking and sitting.
    Judy Blume  --  In the Unlikely Event
  • Every touchable surface was a disease waiting to happen, every speck of dust an allergen poised to swell your nose and clog your ducts, every toothbrush bristle a bacterial playground.
    Trenton Lee Stewart  --  The Mysterious Benedict Society
  • The soldiers sat forward, poised to laugh.
    Sarah J. Maas  --  Throne of Glass
  • He sat up quickly, pulled the book out from under him, put on a green eve-shade, and waited with his pen poised in the air.
    Norton Juster  --  The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Usually it came to no more than this: a deployment of troops, twenty-seven soldiers leaning, twenty-seven tiny olive-green rifles aiming, poised on the brink of battle.
    Jerry Spinelli  --  Wringer
  • You could see people poised nervously, waiting as tensely as if Mr. Birkway was going to announce someone’s execution.
    Sharon Creech  --  Walk Two Moons
  • The snowshoes held him lightly; he stood poised on the snow like a duck on water.
    Elizabeth George Speare  --  The Sign of the Beaver
  • Mama looked at Papa, her lips still poised to speak.
    Mildred D. Taylor  --  Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
  • She was poised for running, as though she were going to sprint off, immediately, to wherever her father was.
    Madeleine L’Engle  --  A Wrinkle in Time
  • She had not even blinked a false eyelash at those offensive remarks (poise, they call it).
    Ellen Raskin  --  The Westing Game
  • ) "Is it on account of ballet that you’re wearing your hair so tight?" he asked, and Elise said, "Yes, Madame O’Leary requires it," and sat up taller—a reed-thin, ostentatiously poised child—and touched the little doughnut on the tippy-top of her head.
    Anne Tayler  --  A Spool of Blue Thread
  • The back leg was poised as if it was about to leave its toehold and push ahead, and the way of it, the whole way of it, said that the head and back wouldn’t be moving at all—just those legs.
    Gary D. Schmidt  --  Okay for Now
  • She seems poised to sit down without addressing these questions, but then changes her mind.
    Christina Baker Kline  --  Orphan Train
  • There were posters of Chairman Mao’s poems written in his own calligraphy, and a new poster of a group of Red Guards in belted army uniforms poised to march forward, waiting only for the Great Leader’s order.
    Ji-Li Jiang  --  Red Scarf Girl
  • Its one revealed eye looked menacing, the large beak poised ready to strike.
    David Baldacci  --  Zero Day
  • Marie-Laure can feel them all poised there.
    Anthony Doerr  --  All the Light We Cannot See
  • Much like how he seemed poised to take care of us now.
    Alexandra Bracken  --  The Darkest Minds
  • She opens her mouth, poises her tongue for speech ("Darling!" she is trying to say), cannot utter the word.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
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Associated words [difficulty]:   poise [1]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Sports, Classic Literature, Engineering
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