Sense: 1-3
Date: 1600-1700
Origin: poise 'to weigh, balance' (14-21 centuries), from Old French peser, from Latin pensare
Sense: 4
Date: 1900-2000
Origin: POISE


1 [not before noun] not moving, but ready to move or do something at any moment
poised for
She waited by the door like a small animal poised for flight.
poised on
His finger was poised on the camera's shutter release.
poised to do something
He stood on the edge of the roof, poised to jump.
2 [not before noun] completely ready to do something or for something to happen, when it is likely to happen soon
poised to do something
Spain was poised to become the dominant power in Europe.
poised on the brink/edge of something
The economy is poised on the edge of collapse.

poised between something and something

to be in a position or situation in which two things have an equally strong influence:
The world stood poised between peace and war.
4 behaving in a calm, confident way, and able to control your feelings and reactions:
Abigail walked to the microphone, poised and confident.
WORD FOCUS: confident WORD FOCUS: confident
confident about your abilities: confident, self-confident, sure of yourself, assured, poised

too confident: overconfident, cocky, brash

not confident: lack confidence, be insecure, be unsure of yourself

See also

Dictionary results for "poised"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.