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1. To make direct and uninterrupted eye contact with someone in order to intimidate them or cause them to yield. She just walked up to the boss, stared him down, and told him she deserved a raise—I could never do something so gutsy! The big, burly guy kept staring me down, but I wasn't afraid.
2. To confront a situation or issue directly. These brave women stared down injustice and won the right to vote.
stare someone down
to pressure someone to capitulate, back down, or yield by staring. Don't try to stare me down. I have nerves of steel. I tried to stare down my opponent, but it didn't work.
Cause someone to waver or give in by or as if by being stared at. For example, Insisting on a better room, he stared down the manager until he got it. This expression alludes to staring at someone without being the first to blink or lower one's gaze. [Mid-1800s]
To intimidate someone or cause someone to submit by staring: I was able to stare down the lion, and it turned and ran away. If your enemies try to stare you down, just smile back at them.