A traffic control symbol that, in the US, is a red octagon with the word STOP prominently displayed. It indicates that one should bring the vehicle to a complete stop before proceeding beyond the sign.

A joke often played on driver's ed students is to tell them that stopping at white-rimmed stop signs is optional.

Some local activists have been playing recently upon the juxtaposition of the boldness of this instruction, its ubiquity and its uniformity of design, having all-weather stickers made up featuring, in appropriate and matching shades of white-letters-on-a-red-background, things that they would like stopped, leading, when applied, to a road sign issuing orders such as the following:


Their objections are many and varied - I've never yet seen two signs directing against the same issue - and range in subject from "nobody can disagree with that" (STOP rape, STOP racism, STOP violence against women) to "need to think about for a bit" (STOP selling gold) to the controversial, dogmatic and hyperbolic (STOP working, STOP capitalism, STOP men).

Nothing like a little light reading matter while waiting for traffic to pass.

Update: 2011-12-09 -- over ten years on, Tem42 would like me here to also make a note of the hipster empty signifier "Hammer Time", as in "Stop: Hammer Time"

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.