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For example, you can say, her hands were ice cold. Is there a word to be used in a similar way with still?

The bodies were [...] still.

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  • Petrified still. Frozen still. Feb 15, 2015 at 6:59
  • 'Icy cold' is an alternative for 'ice cold'. Jun 23, 2015 at 21:46

6 Answers 6

16

It has a bit of an ominous overtone, but often a very still thing will be described as being deathly still, emphasizing that the stillness is as absolute as death. This applies for people and objects as well as for atmospheres and environments, e.g.

The night was deathly still as Jen exited the subway.

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  • 3
    +1 Sounds like the opening sentence of chapter 1 ... what happens next?
    – user98990
    Feb 15, 2015 at 13:25
13

to be stock-still is a very common expression. It means to be absolutely still, motionless, .

stock-still: He stood stock still, with the tropical sun beating on his skull, and endlessly watched the rise and fall of the ship

Some interesting trivia on its origin and meaning. Stock is an archaic word for log, tree trunk or any stump of wood without branches.

Stock still dates back to the mid-15th century, when we find it in the Scottish poem Golagros and Gawain: "In stede quhare he lay, Stok still as ane stane." Dickens used it in Barnaby Rudge: "The clock - which was very near run down, and would have stood stock-still in half an hour." Both Dutch and German have their counterparts, stokstil and stockstill, respectively.

Source: Take Our Word For It

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How about using the term: 'At Rest'?

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  • While not wrong, this has a very peaceful connotation, which may not jibe with the intended usage: "the bodies were at rest" and "the bodies were deathly still" come across quite differently, IMO.
    – wchargin
    Feb 16, 2015 at 6:13
  • It's not wrong as an expression, but it's wrong as an answer for OP's request: 'The bodies were [...] still.' Jun 23, 2015 at 21:49
1

The Bible Exodus 15:16 (KJV) has by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone, and Shakespeare: King John, IV.1 has “I will not struggle; I will stand stone still.” Google Books estimates nearly 60,000 written instances of the exact text "as still as a stone".


But it's a bit "dated". I would say by far the most common metaphoric reference in use today is...

steady as a rock (cliché) - very steady and unmovable; very stable.

There's also the related hyphenated form rock-steady, but in my experience this usage normally involves extending the sense of steadiness through steadfastness to dependability/reliability (plus it also has a highly specific meaning relating to early Jamaican reggae music).

0

I like "stone still".

e.g. "The bodies were stone still".

"Stock still" is also good. I also think incorporating "stiff" or "stiff as stone/rock" into the sentence somehow would put a good emphasis on the stillness of the bodies. Also, if this sentence really is describing dead bodies, I think "deathly still" would be perfect to expand on that and really make the moment darker and more lethal.

Using an analogy would also help the reader to understand it better, and it all really depends on the context.

e.g. The bodies were deathly still, as still as the night air that surrounded them, as if time itself had stopped to mourn for the perished.

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    – Community Bot
    Feb 6 at 17:38
-1

immobile, dead, paralyzed, frozen

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  • adolythic- Lots wife (whom was turned to salt) was called Ado)
    – Dirk Moby
    Jun 23, 2015 at 0:41
  • 1
    Hi, and thanks for taking the time to post under this question. It's great that you want to help. However, this answer doesn't really seem to be a full answer. When answering it's best, in the case of single-word-requests, to give a good explanation why the word you're suggesting is a good one. If necessary quote and reference a dictionary. Jun 23, 2015 at 14:48

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