stand down

Wookie

Senior Member
Korea, Korean
The United States said Friday that it would send an envoy to the region to try to broker an end to the fighting in South Ossetia, and the European Union, NATO and Germany all called on both sides to stand down. (source)

stand down
1 ~ (as sth) to leave a job or position: He stood down to make way for someone younger.
2 (of a witness) to leave the witness box/stand in court after giving evidence
(from OALD)


I don't think these definitions fit well. What does "stand down" in the example above mean?
 
  • cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Did you try looking up "stand down" in the Word Reference dictionary? Although there is no listing here, you would have found a link to Merriam-Webster, which gives this:

    to withdraw from a contest, a position of leadership, or a state of alert or readiness

    This often refers to standing down one's military forces, as described by this further definition from Merriam-Webster:

    transitive verb: to remove (as a military unit) from active duty

    The moral of my reply: It's great that you did look up this term somewhere before posting, but a more thorough search would have saved you time as the answer is easily available through the Word Reference dictionary links. ;)
     

    Wookie

    Senior Member
    Korea, Korean
    transitive verb: to remove (as a military unit) from active duty

    I think, in the example I provided, "stand down" is used as an intransitive verb.
    Is that properly used?
     

    saladfingers

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    transitive verb: to remove (as a military unit) from active duty

    I think, in the example I provided, "stand down" is used as an intransitive verb.
    Is that properly used?
    It can be used as a transitive or intransitive verb.

    One can stand down. (In your example, meaning to come off military duty / to relax (militarily) after a state of alert)

    AND

    One can stand one's army down. (Meaning to remove one's army from military duty / to relax it after a state of alert)


    OED definition: Mil. To come off duty; to relax after a state of alert (also trans.).
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top