im·​passe | \ ˈim-ˌpas How to pronounce impasse (audio) , im-ˈpas \

Definition of impasse

1a : a predicament affording no obvious escape
b : deadlock
2 : an impassable road or way : cul-de-sac

Examples of impasse in a Sentence

The players are poised to strike after Thursday's games because they believe, with good reason, that if no agreement is reached by the end of the post-season, the owners will declare an impasse — Murray Chass, New York Times, 9 Aug. 1994 We seem to have been forced into an impasse. We need to understand why space-time singularities have the structures that they appear to have; but space-time singularities are regions where our understanding of physics has reached its limits. — Roger Penrose, The Emperor's New Mind, 1989 I think the civil rights movement in its early and middle years offered the best way out of America's racial impasse: in this society, race must not be a source of advantage or disadvantage for anyone. — Shelby Steele, Harper's, June 1988 An arbitrator was called in to break the impasse. She had reached an impasse in her career.
Recent Examples on the Web The law could lead to substantial costs for thousands of condo owners across Florida, which initially led to an impasse among lawmakers who ended the regular session of the Legislature in March without passing any changes to state law. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 24 June 2022 But infighting among Democrats and their allies have led to the current impasse in D.C. on marijuana policy reform. Kris Krane, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 In a series of events that prefaced the current Florida impasse, Ed Bastian, the C.E.O. of Delta Air Lines, one of the largest employers in Georgia, eventually denounced the law as contrary to the company’s values. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 Late Saturday night, with the two political factions at an impasse, the country’s powerful intelligence chief met with Mr. Khan. New York Times, 9 Apr. 2022 The impasse, even as talks are expected to continue, marks the clearest sign yet that Democrats will be forced to delay a Senate vote until at least 2022 despite an effort by leadership to approve the bill before Christmas. Clare Foran, Manu Raju And Phil Mattingly, CNN, 15 Dec. 2021 Hence the impasse, and the lack of action. Is there anything else that can be done? David Faris, The Week, 5 Oct. 2021 That night, the School Committee declared an impasse after nearly nine hours of talks; another attempt late Sunday afternoon was futile. Globe Staff,, 16 May 2022 The White House, which has the authority to intervene if talks reach an impasse, is also viewed as friendly to labor. Paul Berger, WSJ, 8 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impasse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of impasse

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for impasse

French, from in- + passer to pass

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The first known use of impasse was in 1851

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Last Updated

26 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Impasse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for impasse


im·​passe | \ ˈim-ˌpas, im-ˈpas How to pronounce impasse (audio) \

Legal Definition of impasse

: a point in especially labor negotiations at which reaching an agreement is impossible because neither party is willing to compromise or change position

More from Merriam-Webster on impasse

Nglish: Translation of impasse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impasse for Arabic Speakers


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