What Does Bring to a Halt Mean?

Bringing to a Halt Meaning

Definition: To stop the progress of something.

This expression means to stop someone or something immediately from continuing. It is abrupt rather than gradual, and it is usually unexpected rather than planned.

It could be a physical movement that is stopped, but it may also a decision or a plan that has been put into action and then stopped.

Origin of Bring Something to A Halt

Halt is a German military command borrowed into the Romance languages from the late 1500s. It means a stop, a halting, and from the 1650s, it was common to say make a halt.

put to a haltAn example of this is found in a March 1791 edition of the Gazette of the United States, wherein it reads,

  • The Prince of Condé was informed, upon his march, of the departure of the King, and perceiving himself either prevented by the Catholics, or deceived by the Queen, made a halt, and remained sometime undecided, what course he should take.

By 1836, we can see examples of both of its current meanings. In the August edition of the Richmond Enquirer of that year, it reads,

  • Here he brought them to a dead halt, and having dispensed of a portion of his force, rushed upon the enemy with such spirit…

And in November, in the same newspaper, we can read,

  • We have gained as many votes as we have lost, and some have been brought to a dead halt, and would not vote at all.

Examples of Bring Something to A Halt

brought to a haltIn the modern day, this is a common expression to talk about making something stop.

For example,

  • When the strange man ran into our classroom, it brought the lecture to a halt.


  • Our date was brought to a halt when he told me he was married.

Here are a few more examples.

  • We brought the horse to a halt in front of the stable so we could get off.
  • The parade was brought to a halt by crossing traffic.

More Examples

  • They vowed to bring to a halt all university activities until they had received the money. –Independent Online
  • Glasgow City Council has announced that it has brought to a halt all work with Canadian from CGI, which had been expected to take control of the seven-year IT contract next March. –Glasgow Evening Times


To bring something to a halt means to cause it to stop abruptly, often suddenly and without warning.