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used in a sentence
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Definition calm and in control — as in "shows poise under pressure"


prepared for action — as in "poised for action" — (sometimes suspended or hovering as in "a finger poised over the mute button")


confident and graceful in movement — as in "the poise and balance of a dancer"

Much more rarely, poise is a technical word referencing a unit of dynamic viscosity.
  • She has great charm and great poise.
poise = composure (calm confidence — even when under pressure)
  • The army is poised to attack.
  • poised = prepared (to do something)
  • She has such balance and poise, she can effortlessly move, jump, and change position on the balance beam.
  • poise = confidence and grace in movement
  • The once self-conscious girl is now a woman with considerable poise.
  • poise = composure (calm confidence)
  • I'm helpless as the first hunter crashes through the trees, spear lifted, poised to throw.
    Suzanne Collins  --  The Hunger Games
  • poised = prepared (ready)
  • Archie was at the doorway, poised to flee if Janza made a move.
    Robert Cormier  --  The Chocolate War
  • poised = prepared (ready)
  • He was poised as if to begin running.
    David Almond  --  Kit's Wilderness
  • poised = ready and prepared
  • But the young body carried a sense of command, a poised assurance,
    Frank Herbert  --  Dune
  • poised = coolness and composure
  • When Blore came up alone I had the big marble clock poised ready.
    Agatha Christie  --  And Then There Were None
  • poised = ready to move as needed
  • Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  The Great Gatsby
  • poise = remaining calm and in control
  • I ran up the stairs and grabbed Rosaleen from behind, stopping her with one foot poised in the air, searching for the next step.
    Sue Monk Kidd  --  The Secret Life of Bees
  • poised = suspended
  • Mama looked at Papa, her lips still poised to speak.
    Mildred D. Taylor  --  Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
  • poised = prepared (ready to do something)
  • Papa was poised at the front gate.
    Markus Zusak  --  The Book Thief
  • poised = prepared (ready)
  • Curley was balanced and poised.
    John Steinbeck  --  Of Mice and Men
  • poised = ready to move as needed
  • 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
  • poised = prepared (ready)
  • And the sled itself seemed to be poised at the top of a long, extended mound that rose from the very land where he was.
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
  • poised = balanced and ready for action
  • At regular intervals along this channel were guards, looking around anxiously and poised to strike at the first hint of danger.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Selection
  • poised = prepared (ready)
  • Her small hands were clasped to her chest and she was poised on her toes as if music were about to start.
    Madeline Miller  --  Circe
  • poised = balanced and ready for action
  • At eight hundred feet Henry slowed down the helicopter screws, and they hung for a minute or two poised above the fading landscape.
    Aldous Huxley  --  Brave New World
  • poised = suspended
  • His newborn cunning gave him poise and control.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
poise = composure (a state of calmness)

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