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

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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

But this doesn’t mean that THC therapy is at an impasse, just that more research and testing is needed. Richard Faulk,, "Glaucoma and medical marijuana: 5 informative facts," 5 Sep. 2019 The Chargers have offered a contract that would average around $10 million per year, but the sides have remained at an impasse., "Chargers suspend contract extension talks with RB Melvin Gordon," 1 Sep. 2019 Additional studies are needed, but a true conclusion could be a long time coming, leaving women who are currently or soon-to-become pregnant at an impasse. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Is Fluoride in Drinking Water Safe? A New Study Reignites a Long-Standing Debate," 21 Aug. 2019 Negotiations have been at an impasse since May after the U.S. said the Chinese reneged on provisions of a tentative deal. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Oil drops nearly 8% after President Trump says he'll impose new China tariffs," 1 Aug. 2019 At an impasse Dan Jones, trustee of the Historic Wauwatosa Cemetery Board, who prepared the HPC application for consideration, was pleased after Wednesday's meeting. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Historic Preservation Commission clarifies both log cabin and site should be designated as historic," 20 Apr. 2018 Earlier in the weekend, Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the impasse in the trade dispute, and Huawei — one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world —has become a flash point in the battle. Rob Mclean, CNN, "Stock futures jump after US and China agree to renew trade talks," 30 June 2019 More than 100 bills had stalled in the impasse, including spending measures needed to fund state government. Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, "Oregon Climate Walkout Left Republicans in Hiding, Statehouse in Disarray," 28 June 2019 Courtney pleaded with Republicans to return to the Capitol to consider much of the state budget and other issues caught up in the impasse. Sarah Zimmerman, The Denver Post, "Not enough votes for climate bill that sparked GOP walkout, Oregon senate president says," 25 June 2019

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

12 Sep 2019

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on impasse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impasse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impasse

Spanish Central: Translation of impasse

Nglish: Translation of impasse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impasse for Arabic Speakers

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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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