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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Andrew Tobias reports DeWine is a member of the commission, which is responsible for redrawing state legislative maps, and if there is an impasse with the General Assembly, the state’s congressional lines, too. Cameron Fields, cleveland, 3 Aug. 2021 The impasse comes just as college athletics begins to emerge from its summer slumber and students return to campus. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 19 Aug. 2021 Those two lawyers failed to agree on an outside candidate to draw the maps, leading to Tuesday’s impasse. Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2021 That impasse forced the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to order a new moratorium that Biden admitted again on Thursday may not pass muster with the Supreme Court. Ali Zaslav, CNN, 7 Aug. 2021 The impasse resumes a legal battle before U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington. Elliot Spagat, ajc, 3 Aug. 2021 The impasse resumes a legal battle before U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington. Elliot Spagat, Chron, 2 Aug. 2021 But a bureaucratic impasse has prevented it from being spent, reflecting broader concerns about delays in ramping up delivery funding. New York Times, 2 Aug. 2021 During the diplomatic impasse, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has threatened to enlarge his nuclear arsenal if the U.S. doesn’t abandon its hostile policy, an apparent reference to the sanctions. Time, 28 July 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of impasse

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for impasse

French, from in- + passer to pass

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About impasse

Time Traveler for impasse

Time Traveler

The first known use of impasse was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near impasse




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for impasse

Last Updated

6 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Impasse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for impasse



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

More from Merriam-Webster on impasse

Nglish: Translation of impasse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impasse for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!