Meaning of POSITION in English

I. po ‧ si ‧ tion 1 S1 W1 /pəˈzɪʃ ə n/ BrE AmE noun

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: French ; Origin: Latin positio , from positus , past participle of ponere 'to put' ]

1 . WAY OF STANDING/SITTING ETC [countable] the way someone is standing, sitting, or lying:

Lie in a comfortable position.

Frankie shifted his position so that his knees would not become cramped.

sitting/kneeling/standing position

I struggled up into a sitting position.

2 . SITUATION [countable usually singular] the situation that someone is in, especially when this affects what they can and cannot do:

I’m not sure what I would do if I were in your position.

be in a position to do something

Next week we will be in a much better position to comment.

be in the position of doing something

She is in the enviable position of having three job offers.

You’re putting me in rather a difficult position.

3 . PLACE WHERE SOMEBODY/SOMETHING IS [countable] the place where someone or something is, especially in relation to other objects and places

position of

the position of the sun in the sky

Our hotel was in a superb central position near St Mark’s Square.

the strategic position (=useful or important position) of Egypt in relation to the Arabian peninsula

4 . CORRECT PLACE [uncountable and countable] the place where someone or something is needed or supposed to be

into position

He pulled the ladder into position.

in/out of position

All parking signs have now been placed in position.

5 . DIRECTION [countable] the direction in which an object is pointing

vertical/upright/horizontal position

Make sure the container remains in an upright position.

She turned the switch to the ‘on’ position.

6 . OPINION [countable] an opinion or judgment on a particular subject, especially the official opinion of a government, a political party, or someone in authority SYN attitude

position on

What’s the party’s position on tax reform?

The principal took the position that the students didn’t need music classes.

I hope you’ll reconsider your position.

7 . JOB [countable] formal a job

sb’s position as something

Bill took up his new position as Works Director in October.

position of

She has held the position of Chief Financial Officer since 1992.

Bruce is thinking of applying for the position.

I’m sorry, the position has been filled (=someone has been found to do the job) .

8 . LEVEL/RANK [uncountable and countable] someone’s or something’s level, authority, or importance in a society or organization

the position of somebody

the position of women in society

position of power/authority/influence etc

Many of his supporters used their positions of power for personal advantage.

As a priest, he was in a position of trust.

abuse your position as something (=use your authority wrongly)

9 . be in a position to do something to be able to do something because you have the ability, money, or power to do it:

When I know all the facts, I’ll be in a position to advise you.

10 . be in no position to do something to be unable to do something because you do not have the ability, money, or power to do it:

You’re unemployed and in no position to support a family.

Ned says I’m always late? He’s in no position to talk (=should not criticize because he does the same thing) .

11 . RACE/COMPETITION [uncountable and countable] the place of someone or something in a race or competition in relation to the other people or things

(in) 2nd/3rd/4th etc position

Alesi finished in third position.

12 . SPORTS [countable] the area where someone plays in a sport, or the type of actions they are responsible for doing:

What position do you play?

13 . jockey/manoeuvre/jostle for position to try to get an advantage over other people who are all trying to succeed in doing the same thing:

Firms adopt different strategies as they jockey for position.

14 . ARMY [countable usually plural] a place where an army has put soldiers, guns etc:

an attack on the enemy positions

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ adjectives

▪ a comfortable position

She wriggled into a more comfortable position.

▪ an awkward position

My foot was in an awkward position.

▪ a sitting/kneeling/standing position

The priest rose from his kneeling position by the bed.

▪ a foetal position (=in which you are curled up like a baby before it is born)

I crawled into my bed and curled up in a foetal position.

■ verbs

▪ change/shift your position

He shifted his position to get a better view of the stage.

▪ pull/drag/haul yourself into a position

She pulled herself into a sitting position.

▪ assume/adopt a position formal (=move your body into a particular position)

The patient should adopt this position for five minutes every half hour.

▪ hold a position (=stay in a position)

Pull in your tummy muscles and hold that position.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ the same position

A lot of people are in the same position.

▪ a similar position

You can ask to be put in contact with others in a similar position.

▪ a strong/good position (=a situation in which you have an advantage)

A victory tonight will put them in a very strong position to win the cup.

▪ a unique position (=a situation that no one else is in)

Their close knowledge of the area places them in a unique position to advise on social policy.

▪ a difficult/awkward position

I was in the difficult position of having to choose between them.

▪ an enviable position (=a situation that other people would like to be in)

He is in the enviable position of not needing to work.

▪ an impossible position (=a very difficult situation)

She was furious with Guy for putting her in such an impossible position.

▪ a weak position (=a situation in which you have a disadvantage)

Someone who is desperate to sell their house is in a weak position.

▪ a vulnerable position (=a situation in which you might be harmed)

Today we are in the vulnerable position of producing barely half our own food.

▪ the present/current position

The following statistics indicate the present position.

▪ the legal position (=the situation from a legal point of view)

The legal position is far from clear.

▪ sb’s financial position

Has your financial position changed recently?

▪ a bargaining/negotiating position (=someone’s ability to bargain/negotiate)

The new law has strengthened workers' bargaining position .

■ verbs

▪ be in a strong/weak etc position

We are in a good position to help.

▪ find yourself in a similar/awkward etc position

The refugee organizations now found themselves in a difficult position.

▪ reach a position

It has taken two years to reach the position we are now in.

▪ put/place somebody in a good/awkward etc position

I'm sorry if I put you in an awkward position.

▪ strengthen sb’s position (=give someone a bigger advantage)

People said that he used the conflict to strengthen his own position.

▪ weaken sb’s position (=give someone a bigger disadvantage)

The Prime Minister's position had been weakened by allegations of financial mismanagement.

▪ sb’s position improves

By March, the Democrats' position had improved.

■ phrases

▪ a position of strength (=a strong position)

By now they were negotiating from a position of strength.

• • •

THESAURUS (for Meaning 7)

■ describing someone’s position in an organization

▪ senior used about someone who has an important position in an organization. Senior can also be used about someone who has a higher position than you in an organization:

a senior executive


She’s a senior partner in a law firm.


She is senior to me.

▪ chief [only before noun] used, especially in job titles, about someone who has the most important or one of the most important positions in an organization:

Carole is the company’s chief financial officer.


He’s the chief economist at Hangseng Bank.

▪ high-ranking [only before noun] used about someone who has a high position in an organization such as the government, the army, or the police:

high-ranking government officials


a high-ranking police officer

▪ top [only before noun] used about someone who is very good, important, or successful in their job:

a top lawyer


He’s one of the President’s top aides.


top diplomats

▪ junior used about someone who has a low position in an organization. Junior can also be used about someone who has a lower position than you in an organization:

a junior clerk


a junior doctor


His role as naval officer was junior to Nelson.

▪ assistant [only before noun] an assistant manager, director, editor etc has a position just below a manager etc:

He’s an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard University.


She became assistant director at the Belgrade Theatre.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 6)

■ verbs

▪ take/hold a position (=have an opinion)

We take the position that these changes are to be welcomed.

▪ adopt a position (=start having an opinion)

In 1898, the Church adopted its current position.

▪ change your position

Since then, the party has changed its position.

▪ reconsider your position (=think again about it and perhaps change it)

The UN Secretary General urged the US to reconsider its position.

▪ defend a position

Each of the next three speakers defended a different position.

■ adjectives

▪ an official position (=one that a government or organization says officially that it has)

This was the French government’s official position.

▪ an extreme position

Few people hold this extreme position today.

▪ a middle position (=one that is between two extreme positions)

They took a middle position, favouring decentralization but with some controls.

▪ a neutral position (=not supporting either side in an argument)

The US claimed that Jordan had abandoned its neutral position and sided with Iraq.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 7)

■ verbs

▪ hold a position (=have it)

She had previously held a senior position in another school.

▪ apply for a position

I decided to apply for the position of head teacher.

▪ take up a position (=start doing a job)

Woods took up a new position as managing director of a company in Belfast.

▪ leave a position

He left his position as Chief Conductor of the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra.

▪ resign from a position

She has resigned from her position as department secretary.

▪ offer somebody a position

They offered me the position of store manager.

▪ fill a position (=find someone to do a job)

We are now seeking to fill some key positions in the company.

■ adjectives

▪ a senior position

Decision making is done by managers holding the most senior positions.

▪ a junior position

I left school and was offered a junior position in a bank.

▪ a permanent/temporary position

It's a temporary position initially, for six months.

▪ an official position

He has no official position in the government.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 8)

■ phrases

▪ a position of power/authority

Many used their positions of power for personal advantage.

▪ a position of influence

The media have an unrivalled position of influence.

▪ a position of trust

As a church leader, he was in a position of trust.

▪ a position of responsibility

Did you hold any positions of responsibility at school or university?

▪ a position of leadership

She had risen to a position of leadership.

■ adjectives

▪ a privileged position

The public expects the Royal Family to earn its privileged position.

▪ an influential position

It's useful if you have friends in influential positions.

▪ a powerful position

Many leaders from that period are still in powerful positions in government.

▪ a dominant position

The firm achieved a dominant position in the world market.

■ verbs

▪ occupy a position

Those who occupy positions of power do not want democracy.

▪ maintain a position (=keep the rank that you have)

High-status groups do all they can to maintain their positions.

▪ use your position

She can now use her position to do some good.

▪ abuse your position (=use your level or rank wrongly)

He abused his position as a doctor.

II. position 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive always + adverb/preposition]

1 . to carefully put something in a particular position:

Position the cursor before the letter you want to delete.

position yourself

I positioned myself where I could see the door.

2 . be well/ideally/perfectly positioned to be in a situation in which you will be able to do something successfully:

We are ideally positioned to take advantage of the growth in demand.

• • •


▪ put to move something to a particular place:

I’ve put the wine in the fridge.


Where have you put my grey shirt?

▪ place to put something somewhere carefully:

‘It’s beautiful,’ he said, placing it back on the shelf.

▪ lay to put someone or something down carefully on a flat surface:

He laid all the money on the table.


She laid the baby on his bed.

▪ position to carefully put something in a suitable position:

Position the microphone to suit your height.


Troops were positioned around the city.

▪ slip to put something somewhere with a quick movement:

He slipped his arm around her waist.


Carrie quickly slipped the money into her bag.

▪ shove to put something into a space or container quickly or carelessly:

Shove anything you don’t want in that sack.


I’ve ironed those shirts so don’t just shove them in a drawer.

▪ stick ( also bung British English ) informal to put something somewhere quickly or carelessly:

I stuck the address in my pocket and I can’t find it now.


Could you bung those clothes in the washing machine?

▪ dump to put something down somewhere in a careless and untidy way:

Don’t just dump all your bags in the kitchen.


People shouldn’t dump rubbish at the side of the street.

▪ pop informal to quickly put something somewhere, usually for a short time:

Pop it in the microwave for a minute.

▪ thrust literary to put something somewhere suddenly or forcefully:

‘Hide it,’ he said, thrusting the watch into her hand.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.