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

Representatives of civil society organizations have called for early elections to end the impasse, while Ortega's top diplomat dismissed the possibility on Friday during a session of the Organization of American States in Washington. NBC News, "Violence rings out at Nicaraguan church, university after nationwide strike," 14 July 2018 Ultimately, his advisers said, his hard-line positions that for now have left him at an impasse with negotiating partners should pay off in ways that did not for presidents like Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Peter Baker, New York Times, "President Trump, Deal Maker? Not So Fast," 22 June 2018 The impasse was resolved and a new funding formula approved in 2017, but West Aurora officials have questioned whether subsequent state budgets would provide the full amount of new education money called for under the formula. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "West Aurora superintendent says passage of state budget worthy of 'victory lap'," 6 June 2018 Democrat Jon Corzine presided over an eight-day closing in 2006 after an impasse with Democratic lawmakers over a sales-tax increase. Elise Young,, "Murphy's Spending Has Even Democrats Balking in New Jersey," 5 June 2018 The bankruptcy has been particularly contentious, with the archdiocese locked in a yearslong impasse with victims despite several attempts at mediation. Tom Corrigan, WSJ, "Twin Cities Archdiocese Reaches $210 Million Victim Compensation Settlement," 31 May 2018 In Los Angeles, members of a union representing 30,000 school support workers have voted to authorize a strike amid an impasse with the district over staffing and wages. Moriah Balingit, Washington Post, "‘They are so underpaid’: School support staff scrape by on meager earnings," 25 Apr. 2018 The federal government shutdown will continue into Monday, as the Senate adjourned late Sunday amid hope Republicans and Democrats will break the impasse with a midday vote. John Bacon, Eliza Collins, USA TODAY, "The government shutdown: What we know now and what happens next," 21 Jan. 2018 Trump has called for revising the deal to gain more benefits for U.S. workers, but negotiations hit an impasse over cross-border automobile production. Kevin Sieff, The Seattle Times, "López Obrador, winner of Mexican election, given broad mandate," 2 July 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

29 Aug 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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