stop cold

(redirected from come to a dead stop)

stop (one) cold

To make one stop or come to a complete halt immediately or very suddenly. Hearing the gunshot in the distance stopped us both cold. Boy, Samantha could stop you cold with her smile!
See also: cold, stop

stop cold

To immediately or suddenly stop or come to a complete halt. I don't know what happened. The engine was running fine a second ago but then just stopped cold! Both of us stopped cold when we heard the gunshot in the distance.
See also: cold, stop
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

stop someone cold

to halt someone immediately. When you told us the bad news, it stopped me cold.
See also: cold, stop
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

stop cold

Also, stop dead or in one's tracks or on a dime . Halt suddenly, come to a standstill, as in When a thread breaks, the machine just stops cold, or He was so surprised to see them in the audience that he stopped dead in the middle of his speech , or The deer saw the hunter and stopped in its tracks, or An excellent skateboarder, she could stop on a dime. The first term uses cold in the sense "suddenly and completely," a usage dating from the late 1800s. The first variant was first recorded in 1789 and probably was derived from the slightly older, and still current, come to a dead stop, with the same meaning. The second variant uses in one's tracks in the sense of "on the spot" or "where one is at the moment"; it was first recorded in 1824. The third variant alludes to the dime or ten-cent piece, the smallest-size coin.
See also: cold, stop
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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