Learn Common English Idioms with Stop (30 example sentences)

Using common English Idioms is one of the best ways to sound like a native speaker. In this post, I’m going to take a closer look at Idioms with the word stop. Follow along with definitions and lots of real example sentences. 

  • Full Stop
  • One-Stop Shop
  • Pit Stop
  • Pull All The Stops Out
  • Put A Stop To (Something)
  • Stop (Something) Cold
  • Stop At Nothing
  • Stop Bellyaching
  • Stop On A Dime
  • Stop Pulling My Leg
  • Stop Something In Its Tracks
  • Stop The Bleeding
  • Stop The Clock
  • Stop The Music
  • Stop The Press
  • Stop The Show
  • Stop The World, I Want To Get Off
  • Stop To Smell The Roses
  • Stop-And-Go
  • Stop, Look, And Listen
  • The Buck Stops Here 
  • There’s No Stopping (Someone)
  • Ugly Enough To Stop A Clock
  • When You’re In A Hole, Stop Digging
  • Whistle-Stop

See how these idioms are used in real English conversations. Keep reading and learn to use them the same way native speakers do. 

The Verb Stop

The verb stop has a few different uses.
To not move

  • I stopped the car at the traffic lights.

To not continue

  • We stopped watching TV and went to bed. 

To end

  • According to the weather forecast, the rain should stop at around 3:00. 

To prevent

  • People are wearing masks to stop the spread of the virus.

Word Origin

Old English (for) stoppian ‘block up (an aperture)’, of West Germanic origin; related to German stopfen, from late Latin stuppare ‘to stuff’. SOURCE 

Idioms with STOP

Full Stop
Used to emphasize that the topic of discussion it’s not open to debate. It’s the final thing that will be said on that topic.

  • Until your grades improve at school I will not allow you to get a part-time job. Full stop, end of discussion.

One-Stop Shop
A place where you can get everything you need in one single location. 

  • There’s a big department store near my house that I really love. They sell furniture, clothes, tools, bicycles, groceries, and more. It’s a true one-stop shop.
If you need it, this mall has it. It’s a one-stop-shop.

Pit Stop
A pit stop happens in a race where a race car can quickly get new tires, minor adjustments, and refuel.

We also use Pit Stop for stopping on a long car journey so the driver can take a rest and everyone can get food, something to drink, use the bathroom, or just stretch their legs. 

  • We’ve been driving since the early morning. I’ll make a pit stop at the next service station and we can get some lunch and fill up. (Fill the gas tank.) 

Pull Out All The Stops
To make something the best it can possibly be, to use all available resources to make something special.

  • The party was amazing Catherine, you really pulled out all the stops

Put A Stop To (Something)
To end or finish something.

  • It’s time to put a stop to all this fighting. We need to work together if we want the project to be successful. 
Kids! You better put a stop to all this fighting!

Stop (Something) Cold

To bring something to a complete and total stop.

  • The politician’s high-paid lawyers put some pressure on the police chief and stopped the investigation cold.

Stop At Nothing

To do everything possible to complete a task, to not give up.

  • The police will stop at nothing to catch the killer. 

Stop Bellyaching

Bellyaching means complaining, if you tell someone to stop bellyaching you’re telling them to stop complaining.

  • I know there are long lines here at the city office but you may as well stop bellyaching, it won’t change anything. Just relax and be patient. 

Stop On A Dime

To stop suddenly and completely.

  • These new winter tires I just bought for my car are great. Even when the roads are wet and slippery my car stops on a dime
Johnny stopped his motorcycle on a dime to prevent an accident.

Stop Pulling My Leg

If someone is pulling your leg they are telling you a lie.

  • Are you really friends with Johnny Depp? I doubt it, stop pulling my leg
I don’t believe you. Stop pulling my leg.

Stop (something/someone) In Its Tracks

To stop something very suddenly, make something come to a stop very fast.

  • The police officer yelled “Freeze!” and the burglar stopped in his tracks
  • The police sirens stopped him In his tracks

Stop The Bleeding

To stop more damage or negative effects from happening. ~ This comes from stopping a cut from bleeding so you don’t lose a lot of blood.

  • The company needs a new plan, right now we are losing money every month. Step one will be to stop the bleeding, and step two will be updating our business plan. 
No more unnecessary expenses. Let’s try to stop the bleeding.

Stop The Clock

Used in some sporting events that are timed, when the game countdown is paused for some reason.

  • The referee stopped the clock while the injured player was carried off the field. 

This expression is sometimes used in reference to not getting older. An anti-wrinkle cream or some special diet might advertise itself as a way to stop the clock

  • These new miracle vitamins can help to stop the clock and keep you looking younger for longer. 
Stop the clock with my new medical formula!

Stop The Music

This expression is used by people who want everything to suddenly stop. You might hear this in the middle of a conversation when someone has just realized something very important.
Or someone enters a room with important information.

  • Everyone stop the music! The war is finally over! 

Stop The Press

This expression comes from a time when newspapers were the people’s main source of information. If the newspapers were in the middle of being printed on the printing press, and some important news was just discovered, the news editor would yell stop the press!

The press stops, the writers and printing staff would add the new important news story to the paper, and then begin printing again.

Stop the press has a very similar feeling to stop the music and can be used the same way. 

  • Stop the press! The Prime Minister has just been shot. 

It’s also common to say stop the presses! (plural)

Stop the presses! The bank has just been robbed!


Stop The Show

If someone stops the show it means they gave an incredible performance, they did something remarkable. 

  • All the performers in the talent contest did a good job in my opinion, but Carly really stopped the show. She deserved to win.

Stop The World, I Want To Get Off

This is a humorous way to express one’s desire to escape the trouble or problems in their daily life. They treat the Earth as a ride that they want to stop riding. The same way we get off a train or bus when we have finished riding.

  • My life is incredibly busy right now with work, school, and planning my best friend’s wedding next month. Please stop the world, I want to get off!
Stop the world please!

Stop and Smell The Roses

To stop what you’re doing, relax, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, like the smell of a beautiful flower. 

  • If you’re too focused on work it’s possible to get burnt out. It’s important to stop and smell the roses once in a while to really appreciate life. 


This expression talks about things that make very slow progress, they move a little bit and then they stop. This can be a long slow cycle. (We often use this to talk about heavy traffic.)

  • Sorry I’m late, there was an accident on the highway and traffic was stop and go for almost an hour. 

Stop, Look, And Listen

This expression is used to recommend how to treat a possibly dangerous situation. For example, crossing a busy street or a railroad track.

  • You can’t depend on the railroad crossing signal when you go over the tracks. They don’t always work correctly. Make sure you stop, look, and listen every time you cross the train tracks. 

The Buck Stops Here 

Pass the Buck is an English expression that is used when people try to push responsibility onto someone else.

The expression the buck stops here shows that someone accepts full responsibility. They are saying that the buck (responsibility) will not be pushed onto someone else, it has stopped on me.

  • There have been a few problems recently across the company. As the company president, I have to accept responsibility. The buck stops here.

*Learn the Idiom Pass The Buck and more English financial idioms here > Idiom$ About MONEY (120 Common English Financial Idioms)

There’s No Stopping (Someone)

A person will not be prevented from doing what they want to do because they’re too strong, too powerful, or too committed.

  • My son just graduated from University and he has already decided to become governor of the state. I have faith in him, whenever he sets his mind to something there is no stopping him

Ugly Enough To Stop A Clock
Very Ugly

  • Denise and George just bought a new puppy, I didn’t want to say anything but honestly, that thing is ugly enough to stop a clock
That bird is ugly enough to stop a clock.

When You’re In A Hole, Stop Digging

If you find yourself in a bad situation, don’t continue to do the same things that got you there in the first place. 

  • We need to be creative with how we solve this problem, we can’t just keep spending more money. If we do this company will be bankrupt soon. We’re in a hole now so we need to stop digging

This means visiting a lot of different places in a very short time. *This is a new one for me!

  • After college I and a few friends today did a whistle-stop tour of South America. We visited 6 countries in 11 days. 

Songs With STOP

There are a lot of songs that have the word STOP in the title. A lot! Here are four of my favorites.

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (lyrics)

Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (lyrics)

Stop! In the Name of Love (lyrics)

Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (lyrics)

What is your favorite song with STOP? Tell me in the comments!

Check out these other posts and learn some new idioms that native speakers really use.

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