stale

adjective
\ ˈstāl \
staler; stalest

Definition of stale 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 : tasteless or unpalatable from age stale bread

2 : tedious from familiarity a stale routine

3 : impaired in legal force or effect by reason of being allowed to rest without timely use, action, or demand a stale affidavit a stale debt

4 : impaired in vigor or effectiveness

stale

verb (1)
staled; staling

Definition of stale (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to make stale

2 archaic : to make common : cheapen

intransitive verb

: to become stale

stale

verb (2)
staled; staling

Definition of stale (Entry 3 of 4)

intransitive verb

: urinate used chiefly of camels and horses

stale

noun

Definition of stale (Entry 4 of 4)

: urine of a domestic animal (such as a horse)

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from stale

Adjective

stalely \ˈstāl-lē \ adverb
staleness noun

Examples of stale in a Sentence

Adjective

a room filled with stale smoke viewers were bored by the stale story lines of the new crop of sitcoms

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Like those complimentary breadsticks, the changes that showed results four years ago could get stale. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Come Back for Seconds at Olive Garden Parent," 21 June 2018 This change would be a nice shakeup to a format that’s grown stale: With year-round interleague, AL against NL isn’t a unique matchup any more. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Nine Innings: The Yankees' Greatest Need, Unlikely All-Stars and Midsummer Classic Changes," 11 June 2018 No, the scenes of this spring; of youth and optimism and a fresh start for a team that had grown stale over the past few seasons, will shift oh so staggeringly once the team departs from St. Petersburg on Tuesday afternoon. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers spring training confirms expectation for losing season," 27 Mar. 2018 Approaching its fourth anniversary, Rittenhouse’s Abe Fisher (1623 Sansom St.) shows no sign of growing stale with its modern-Ashkenazi theme. Michael Klein, Philly.com, "Philly dining with a view | Let's Eat," 13 June 2018 This might be a little rice or cornmeal, a few potatoes or stale bread. Emily Horton, sacbee, "Legumes, vegetables enrich these simple, one-pot pasta dishes | The Sacramento Bee," 17 Apr. 2018 Savannah is still covered in debris and Daniel's fridge is full of stale food. Emily Selter, Town & Country, "Southern Charm Savannah Episode 6 Recap: Ashley Starts Another Fight (Surprise, Surprise)," 13 June 2017 The lack of different winners overall is alarming — the same winners over and over becomes stale, disengages fans and destroys the competitive parity in the sport — but the burden to change that absolutely does not fall to under-25's alone. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "Blaming NASCAR's young drivers for attendance issues just a sign of a greater problem," 6 July 2018 Or score three runs early and then go stale for a while and end up giving it away late on a freaky play or something. George Sipple, Detroit Free Press, "Nicholas Castellanos, Jordan Zimmermann help Tigers end skid, 9-1," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The product has staled compared to the previous standards. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "It’s not a pretty picture inside Southlake Carroll’s football program," 27 Jan. 2018 Set collection is a particularly satisfying mechanism but one that stales easily; Fabled Fruit tweaks the formula in every game to bypass that problem. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, "The best board games we played at PAX Unplugged," 24 Nov. 2017 Petty theft, Clifton Boulevard: Police were called to CVS Pharmacy about 2 a.m. Oct. 12 on a report of a man staling body wash items and leaving in a car. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland.com, "Lakewood police respond to burglary, car theft complaints: police blotter," 22 Oct. 2017 While the bread is staling, combine blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan over low heat. Robin Mather, Detroit Free Press, "Icebox desserts worth the chill," 8 July 2017 Time may have withered her, to misquote Shakespeare, but custom will never stale this mother’s infinite, and exasperating, variety. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘Our Mother’s Brief Affair,’ a Play About Unmoored Lives," 20 Jan. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The product has staled compared to the previous standards. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "It’s not a pretty picture inside Southlake Carroll’s football program," 27 Jan. 2018 Set collection is a particularly satisfying mechanism but one that stales easily; Fabled Fruit tweaks the formula in every game to bypass that problem. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, "The best board games we played at PAX Unplugged," 24 Nov. 2017 Petty theft, Clifton Boulevard: Police were called to CVS Pharmacy about 2 a.m. Oct. 12 on a report of a man staling body wash items and leaving in a car. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland.com, "Lakewood police respond to burglary, car theft complaints: police blotter," 22 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Democrats, meanwhile, say there has been no fresh outreach to them after talks about attaching something to the government spending package stale mated. Tal Kopan, CNN, "White House seeks to rekindle immigration debate on Hill," 10 Apr. 2018 And while many have written it off as a stale, co-opted opponent with little relevance to national political developments, the last month has shown that the situation is not so simple. Sofia Fenner, Washington Post, "Why Egypt's oldest political party isn't challenging President al-Sissi," 7 Feb. 2018 New Orleans School of Cooking's King Cake Bread Pudding Serves 10 to 12 1 traditional king cake, stale, cut in 1-inch cubes Equal amount of French bread, cut in 1-inch cubes. Ann Maloney, NOLA.com, "King cake leftovers? Make bread pudding, trifle and cake pops," 6 Feb. 2018 But keeping the festival world-class and fresh, year after year, is a challenge, and some critics have warned that Lincoln Center’s was growing stale. Michael Cooper, New York Times, "Tastemaker Wanted: Lincoln Center Festival Director to Step Down," 28 June 2017 Blackhawks looking stale: Has this group run out of magic? Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, "Six first-round NHL playoff surprises: Maple Leafs are closer than we thought," 25 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stale.' 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 stale

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1548, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stale

Adjective

Middle English, settled, clear (of ale), not fresh, from Anglo-French estale, probably from Middle Dutch stel old (of beer)

Verb (2)

Middle English; akin to Middle Low German stallen to urinate, stal urine of horses

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stale

Phrases Related to stale

go stale

Statistics for stale

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stale

The first known use of stale was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stale

stale

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of stale

of food : no longer good or appealing : no longer fresh

: not clean, clear, or pure : having an unpleasant taste or smell

: not interesting or new : boring or unoriginal

stale

adjective
\ ˈstāl \
staler; stalest

Kids Definition of stale

1 : having lost a good taste or quality through age stale bread

2 : used or heard so often as to be dull stale jokes

3 : not so strong, energetic, or effective as before He felt stale in his job.

stale

adjective

Legal Definition of stale 

: impaired in legal effect or force by reason of not being used, acted upon, or demanded in a timely fashion a search warrant based on stale information a stale claim

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on stale

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

WORD OF THE DAY

the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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