im·passe | \ˈim-ˌpas, im-ˈpas\

Definition of impasse 

1a : a predicament affording no obvious escape

b : deadlock

2 : an impassable road or way : cul-de-sac

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other top Department of Homeland Security officials have repeatedly insisted that the country’s immigration impasse requires urgent legislative attention. Devlin Barrett, Mike Debonis, Washington Post, "Congress, courts stymie Trump border crackdown," 27 June 2018 Senate Republicans left their standing luncheon Tuesday vowing to find some way around an immigration impasse created, defended and leveraged by Trump. Time, "President Trump Is Making It Harder for Congress to Stop Family Separations," 19 June 2018 Lastly, when negotiations over a specific piece of land or project reach an impasse, the act needs to provide a way forward that fosters species recovery. Peter S. Alagona, Outside Online, "The Endangered Species Act Needs a Reboot," 9 July 2018 Without the required support of four-fifths of the EU’s countries even to get to an earlier stage of condemnation, the procedure has reached an impasse. The Economist, "Poland’s government sacks a third of its Supreme Court," 5 July 2018 That split—between those who eager to look tough on immigration and those who are vulnerable on the issue—is one of the many driving forces behind the current impasse in the House. Maya Rhodan, Time, "Republicans Avoided a Revolt on Immigration. But the Fighting Isn’t Over," 7 June 2018 On Saturday, the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation will hold a four-hour symposium focused on gun violence, the Second Amendment, and the current impasse in addressing the problem. Leslie Anderson,, "Bay State Bike Week in full swing," 13 May 2018 The White House has sought to blame Democrats for the impasse, with officials stressing their openness to a deal. Kathleen Hunter,, "Dreamer Deadlock Energizes Democrats' Midterm Bid," 2 Apr. 2018 The Toffees are reportedly willing to offer higher wages than the Gunners, who have hit something of an impasse in negotiations to renew the England international's deal., "Everton Ready to Gazump Arsenal Contract Offer to Land England Midfielder This Summer," 14 Mar. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for impasse

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impasse

The first known use of impasse was in 1851

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More Definitions for impasse



English Language Learners Definition of impasse

: a situation in which no progress seems possible


im·passe | \ˈim-ˌpas, im-ˈpas \

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

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Comments on impasse

What made you want to look up impasse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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