Some English words have different meanings, e.g., stall has 22 meanings. Do I need to remember all of the meanings? It seems it is an impossible job for me.

Which are the most meanings if I want to study and know this word completely?

see: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/stall?s=t


1.a compartment in a stable or shed for the accommodation of one animal.

2.a stable or shed for horses or cattle.

3.a booth or stand in which merchandise is displayed for sale, or in which some business is carried on (sometimes used in combination): a butcher's stall; a bookstall.

4.carrel (def 1).

5.one of a number of fixed enclosed seats in the choir or chancel of a church for the use of the clergy.

6.a pew.

7.any small compartment or booth for a specific activity or housing a specific thing: a shower stall.

verb (used with object)

13.to assign to, put, or keep in a stall or stalls, as an animal or a car.

14.to confine in a stall for fattening, as cattle.

15.to cause (a motor or the vehicle it powers) to stop, especially by supplying it with a poor fuel mixture or overloading it.

16.Aeronautics. to put (an airplane) into a stall. to lose control of or crash (an airplane) from so doing.

17.to bring to a standstill; check the progress or motion of, especially unintentionally.

18.to cause to stick fast, as in mire or snow. verb (used without object)

19.(of an engine, car, airplane, etc.) to be stalled or go through the process of stalling (sometimes followed by out).

20.to come to a standstill; be brought to a stop.

21.to stick fast, as in mire.

22.to occupy a stall, as an animal.

  • Oh, this question is important for me. I think i am a perfectionist, so it always cause difficulties for me to select which meanings are most popular for a word. And vocabulary has been a drawback for me to study English for several years. I know the place is to study English so want to get advices from experts. Sorry for the inconvenience.
    – studyhard
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 5:30
  • First, please tell us what you think the definition of completely means.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 5:43
  • I think the valuable meanings are: 1, a small area in library, restroom or some other places; 2, to cause a vehicle to stop.
    – studyhard
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 5:46
  • 'completely' means I can know its exact meanings whenever I read the word. For example, I study in a stall in the library; She stalled a car; She bought good tickets for the stalls in the stadium.
    – studyhard
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 5:49
  • To learn vocabulary, it seems to me that it would be best to focus on words you see being used in context. Don't just try to memorize dictionary entries; that's not what they're for. A dictionary is a reference work, not a study guide or English textbook.
    – herisson
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


I suppose what you actually want is to identify some of the most popular meanings of the word so that you can understand it in most cases.

The most common meaning of the word as a noun is definition 3:
A booth or stand in which merchandise is displayed for sale, or in which some business is carried on. E.g. a butcher's stall; a bookstall.

The most common meanings as a verb are definitions 15, 17, 19 and 20.
17, the transitive(with object) form, means to bring to a standstill (to cause to stop), while 15 is basically a special case of it. 20 is simply the intransitive form, that is, to come to a standstill (to stop), and 19 is simply the intransitive version of 15 in the same manner.


I'd recommend to not study all the meanings, but only a couple of the most popular ones or which are more suitable for your lifestyle. I hardly imagine that you need them all in your memory now, especially when you are asking for such help. The most effective way is to look through popular media sources, books, twitter and facebook walls in order to find out what meanings are implied more often than others.

Another advice is to try to make some complete meaningful sentences for each meaning. In this case you may bring to notice that in your very example almost all meanings are pretty closely related.

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