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

Definition of impasse

1a : a predicament affording no obvious escape
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 The Senate’s vote in favor of the bill was short of the 60 needed to advance the legislation for floor debate, leaving Congress at an impasse just weeks before lawmakers return home to campaign in the pivotal fall elections., "U.S. Raises Bar For Vaccines; Cases Top 28 Million: Virus Update," 10 Sep. 2020 Still, in light of the agreements between Israel, Egypt, Jordan and now the UAE, the ongoing impasse between Israelis and Palestinians remains tragic. Steve Hunegs, Star Tribune, "Counterpoint: Israel-UAE agreement shows the value of engagement," 9 Sep. 2020 Congress remains at an impasse in negotiations for coronavirus relief, with Democrats and Republicans disagreeing over the cost and scope of additional legislation. Grace Segers, CBS News, "McConnell says Senate will vote on slimmed-down coronavirus relief bill Thursday," 9 Sep. 2020 As federal aid runs out and Congress remains at an impasse on additional stimulus funding, school vendors are hanging on to the little revenue coming their way. Abdel Jimenez,, "Bus contractors, uniform suppliers, trophy makers: Many Chicago-area companies feel the pain as students start the year from home," 4 Sep. 2020 The White House and Democratic leaders remain at an impasse over the size and contents of a new package. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Stalled Coronavirus-Aid Talks Test Schools," 27 Aug. 2020 The two sides have been at an impasse over whether to extend the weekly payments at all. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Texas to apply for extra $300 weekly sum in unemployment benefits from controversial Trump program," 20 Aug. 2020 And as Courtney Cronin of ESPN reported on Wednesday, the two sides are at an impasse on contract talks. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "Steelers believe Ben Roethlisberger is back to his old self; Hollywood Brown added 23 pounds for camp: NFL training camp roundup," 19 Aug. 2020 Congress has been unable to agree on an extension amid an impasse on a new round of coronavirus aid. Bruce Schreiner, The Courier-Journal, "McConnell urges Kentucky Gov. Beshear to accept new offer for federal jobless aid," 17 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for impasse

Time Traveler

The first known use of impasse was in 1851

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Statistics for impasse

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impasse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for impasse


How to pronounce impasse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of impasse

: a situation in which no progress seems possible


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

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