General English

  • adverb in spite of everything



  • A single stationary image from a motion picture, or that presented on a TV, computer monitor, or the like. Also called still frame.

Information & Library Science

Media Studies

  • adjective designed for, or relating to the process of, taking photographs as opposed to making films
  • noun a photographic print, either made from a single frame of a film or shot independently with a still camera during production

Origin & History of “still”

The adjective still ‘not moving’ (OE) comes from a prehistoric west Germanic *stillja or *stellja, which also produced German still and Dutch stil. It was derived from the base *stel- ‘fixed, not moving, standing’ (a variant of which lies behind English stalemate and stall). It was used as an adverb in the Old English period, denoting ‘not changing physical position’, and this gradually evolved metaphorically via ‘never changing or stopping, always’ to (in the 16th century) ‘until now’. The noun still ‘distilling apparatus’ (16th c.) is of course a different word. It comes from the now defunct verb still ‘distil’. This was short for distil (14th c.), which came from Latin distillāre, a derivative ultimately of the noun stilla ‘drop’ (source also of English instil (16th c.)).