2

When a fish is being still in one spot, it definitely isn't floating or hovering. Poised? Suspended? "She made out a school of tiny fish ____ in a patch of filtered sunlight".

6
  • 4
    I like "suspended". Maybe "drifting" could work?
    – James
    Jun 29 '15 at 12:27
  • Not an answer, but unless the fish being perfectly still is important, you could always omit the verb. She made out a school of tiny fish in a patch of filtered sunlight. sounds fine to me.
    – Huey
    Jun 29 '15 at 12:42
  • 1
    I think I've occasionally heard "suspended".
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 29 '15 at 12:55
  • I like suspended, or, related, hovering.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 29 '15 at 12:55
  • Are they actively swimming to stay in the sun patch, or is the water still as well?
    – jxh
    Jun 29 '15 at 17:27
1

Any of the following words would do:

Unmoving (quite poetic)

Stock-still

Immobile

Static

Unwavering

Motionless

0
1

Why not hovering?

  1. to float in the air without moving in any direction

  2. to stay very close to a person or place

  3. to stay near a specified point or level

Merriam-Webster

It seems to capture both stillness but also the fine flutters and oscillations you see when you spot a group of minnows just hanging out. Plus, it brings to mind motion through air, which, when talking about fish, is an imaginative touch.

or Wavering, maybe with a modifier? (barely wavering? hardly wavering?)

to sway to and fro, to tremble

Other suggestions:

blinking, quivering, winking, glimmering

0

I think floating immobile may describe the scene:

  • Buoyed on or suspended in or as if in a fluid. (AHD)
0

Standstill is used in this context.

And very, very rarely, even swimstill. I think it's a neologism, but it's a good one.

4
  • Is standstill also an adjective?
    – user66974
    Jun 29 '15 at 13:35
  • @Josh61: Not according to dictionaries. But we do have compounds like standstill agreement
    – Tushar Raj
    Jun 29 '15 at 13:41
  • Yes, I was just wondering if the sentence "they were just standstill" is grammatical. Interesting finding, though!
    – user66974
    Jun 29 '15 at 13:43
  • In this context, "swimstill" would be too clever and cute for its own good, imho.
    – kirk
    Jun 29 '15 at 17:45
0

I can't come up with a word that is specific to aquatic life, but here's a couple suggestions:

frozen, lingering

"Frozen" is more neutral as far as imputing meaning to the fishes' activity, and it's also alliterative ;)

0

You could say that the fish are resting when they are not swimming.

For a bit of whimsical irony, you could say:

She made out a school of tiny fish bathing in a patch of filtered sunlight.

4
  • 1
    But if there's a current, the fish needs to do work to stay stationary. Jun 29 '15 at 17:11
  • @PeterShor: I would call that treading water.
    – jxh
    Jun 29 '15 at 19:32
  • How can a fish tread water when it has no feet. :-) Jun 30 '15 at 13:36
  • @PeterShor: Fine, idiomatically treading water. :-)
    – jxh
    Jul 1 '15 at 15:23
0

Suspended

11) to come to a stop, usually temporarily; cease from operation for a time.
14) to be suspended, as in a liquid, gas, etc.

from Dictionary.com

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.