Etymology: Middle English, to weigh, ponder, from Anglo-French peiser, poiser, from Latin pensare — more at pensive
a. balance; especially to hold or carry in equilibrium <carried a water jar poised on her head> b. to hold supported or suspended without motion in a steady position <poised her fork and gave her guest a knowing look — Louis Bromfield> 2. to hold or carry (the head) in a particular way 3. to put into readiness ; brace intransitive verb 1. to become drawn up into readiness 2. hover II. noun Etymology: Middle English poyse weight, heaviness, from Anglo-French peis, pois, from Latin pensum, from neuter of pensus, past participle of pendere to weigh — more at pendant Date: 1649 1. a stably balanced state ; equilibrium <a poise between widely divergent impulses — F. R. Leavis> 2. a. easy self-possessed assurance of manner ; gracious tact in coping or handling; also the pleasantly tranquil interaction between persons of poise <no angry outbursts marred the poise of the meeting> b. a particular way of carrying oneself ; bearing, carriage Synonyms: see tact III. noun Etymology: French, from Jean Louis Marie Poiseuille died 1869 French physician and anatomist Date: 1913 a centimeter-gram-second unit of viscosity equal to the viscosity of a fluid that would require a shearing force of one dyne to impart to a one-square-centimeter area of an arbitrary layer of the fluid a velocity of one centimeter per second relative to another layer separated from the first by a distance of one centimeter
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.